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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 18G3, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New-York. 


An edition of this book was reprinted immediately 
after its first publication, and I thus had the opportu- 
nity of inserting various corrections and some important 
additions. These are included in the present American 
edition, together with some new corrections. It is a 
great gratification to me that my w r ork should be thought 
worthy of republication in the United States, which con- 
tains so large a body of intelligent readers. The details 
given in the first volume will probably be too numerous 
and minute for most readers; but they appeared to me 
worth publishing, as different persons might be interested 
in different classes of animals and plants ; and the facts 
taken together shew in the clearest manner how largely 
organic beings vary when subjected to domestication. I 
venture to call the reader's attention to the chapter on 
Pangenesis. The view there propounded is simply hypo- 
thetical, but it has appeared to me, and I have the satis- 
faction to know that it has likewise thus appeared to 
some capable judges in England, to be no small gain to 
seize on a material bond, by which the various forms of 
reproduction, inheritance, development, etc.. can be con- 
nected together. We thus get rid of such vague terms 
as spermatic force, the vivification of the ovule, sexual 
potentiality, and the diffusion of mysterious essences or 
properties from either parent, or from both, to the child. 
Whatever may be thought of the conclusions at which I 
have arrived on various points, I hope that the student 
will find my work of use, as giving to him a larger body 
of methodically arranged facts on certain subjects than 
can be found, as I believe, in any other work. 

Charles Darwin. 

Down Bromley, Kent, March 28, 1868. 


Publishers' Note to the Reader. — The first English edition 
of this work was taken up at once, and a second called for. In 
the reprint Mr. Darwin made a number of changes and correc- 
tions, and sent us the advance sheets containing them. He also has 
given us a number of manuscript corrections which do not even 
appear in the latest English reprint. If the reader will mark the 
passages indicated below, he will have his copy revised up to the 
author's latest views. These corrections, as well as Mr. Darwin's 
preface, were received after the book was printed ; and we were 
obliged, by force of circumstances, to insert both in extra pages. 


Page 86, and wherever Sus Indica occurs, read 8us Indicus. 

Page 104, 16 lines from top. Instead of " It has been found in 
England associated with the remains of the elephant and rhino- 
ceros," read "It apparently did not exist in England before the 
Neolithic period, though a greater age was formerly assigned to it." 

Page 104, 2d line from bottom. After B. longifron.8 add, " and 
according to Mr. Boyd Dawkins is identical with it." 

Page 104, foot-note 40. Strike out reference to Owen, British 
Mammalia, and insert " Mr. Boyd Dawkins on the British Fossil 
Oxen, ' Journal of the Geol. Soc' Aug. 1867, p. 182." 

Page 127, 2d line from bottom. For " during the early stone 
period," read " during the early part of the Neolithic period." 

Paw 200, foot-note 35. Strike out that part of the note begin- 
ning " but it is stated," and ending with " than in the female. " 

Page 223, 12 lines from top. For {Dendroeygna mduata) read 
{Anas mosrJtata). 

Page 351, 18 lines from top. After word " strain " insert " Again, 
Mr. T. Jenner Wier informs me that a peacock at Blackheath, 
whilst young, was white, but as it became older it assumed the cha- 
racter of the black-shouldered variety ; both its parents were com- 
mon peacocks. Here we have six distinct cases," etc. 

Page 352, 9 lines from top. For " as it did to Sir R. Heron, to pre- 
ponderate strongly in favour," read " evidence seems to me to be 
decisive in favour of the black-shouldered," etc. 

Page 355, 8 lines from top. For " by naturalists," read " by some 

Page 475, 19 lines from bottom. Insert, after " no success," " but 
Dr. Hildebrand informs me, in a letter dated Jan. 2d, 1868, that he 
has recently succeeded with the potato. He removed all the eyes 
from a white, smooth-skinned potato, and all from a red, scaly po- 
tato, and inserted them reciprocally into each other. From these 
eyes he raised only two plants ; and of the tubers formed by them 
two were red and scaly at one end, and white and smooth-skinned 
at the other; the middle part being white with red streaks. Hence 
the possibility of a graft hybrid may be looked at as established." 


j Mr Darwin states that this case of Dr. Hildebrand has modified 
his belief iu the possibility of making a graft hybrid. — Pub.] 

Page 475 > 18 lines from bottom. After " instance known to me," 
insert " (with the exception of the case just given)." 

Page 4?f>, 13 lines from bottom. Strike out all of the sentence 
after " above described." 

Page 480. To foot-note 126 add : " Dr. Hildebrand, of Bonn, in 
a letter dated Jan. 2, 1868, informs me that he has recently crossed 
yellow ami red maize and obtained the same results as Dr. Sovi, 
with the important addition, that in one case the axis which sup- 
ports the seeds was stained of a brownish color; Dr. Hildebrand 
also gives me some striking cases with respect to the apple-tree, 
like those recorded further on. These valuable facts will soon be 
recorded in the ' Bot. Zeitung.' " 

Page 485. Add to foot-note : " Dr. Bower bank has given us the 
following striking case : — A black, hairless Barbary bitch was first 
impregnated by a mongrel spaniel with long brown hair, and she 
produced five puppies, three of which were hairless and two cov- 
ered with stiiort brown hair. The next time she was put to a full 
black, hairless Barbary dog ; but the mischief had been implanted 
in the mother, and again about half the litter looked like pure 
Barbarys, and the other half like the s/wMiaired progeny of the 
first father.'' 

Page 486, 5 lines from bottom. For " There is a considerable but 
insufficient body of evidence," read " There is sufficient evidence." 


Page 25. To the paragraph ending with "operated on," add 
" since the publication of the first edition of this work, I have re- 
ceived an account of another instance of the regrowth of a super- 
numerary digit." 

Page 32, 5 lines from bottom. For " 73 " insert " 72." 

Page 56, 2d paragraph. After " always produced," add " I hear 
from Mr. Blyth that the hybrids from the canary and goldfinch al- 
most invariably have streaked feathers on their backs ; and this 
streaking must be derived from the aboriginal wild canary." 

Page 88, 14 lines from top. For " (Tadnora dEgyptiac/i)," read 
" (Anser JEgypUobcus)." 

Page 170, 6 lines from top. After " P. edvMs," insert " In a third 
instance, however. P. quadrangularis fruited freely, when arti- 
ficially fertilized with its own pollen." 

Pasje 184, 5 lines from top. Erase all of the sentence after " tur- 
key," and add "and fowl are kept and bred by various remote 


Page 221, 2d line from bottom. Strike out all the sentence after 
" result," and insert " so the same tiling occurs with trimorphic 
plants: for instance, the mid-styled form of Lyth/rwm salicnrin 
could lie illegitimately fertilized with the greatest ease by pollen 
from tlie longer stamens of the short-stvled firm, and yielded many 
Bee Is, but tbe latter form did not yield a single seed when fertilized 
by the longer stamens of the mid-styled form." 

Page 341, 342, and wherever " Lncaze Duthiers " occurs, read " Lo- 
cate," and alter the same in tin* index. 


Page 438, 3d line from bottom. Strike out all of the sentence 
aft t " amputation," and insert " how it comes that organic beings 
identical in every respect are habitually produced by such widely 
different processes as budding and true seminal generation." 

Page 431, 11 lines from bottom. After " nature," add "and in 
the case of Daphnia, Sir J. Lubbock first showed that ova and 
pseud-ova are identical in structure." 

Page 431, foot-note 5. For " Cecydomyide " read " Cecidomyde.'' 

Page 437, paragraph Graft-hybrids. In the 2d line of the 
para rraph, cut out after OytisUD adami and make it read " OytlSUS 
adami, it was shown that, after the tissues of two plants," etc. In 
t!ic sixth line of paragraph, for " are intimately united," read ." have 
become intimately united." In the 8th line, "it is certain," 
should read "it is also certain." The closing sentence of the para- 
graph, " Should it ever be proved," etc., is to be modified to read. 
" The possibility of the production of hybridized buds by the union 
of two distinctive vegetative tissues is an important fact, as it shows 
us that sexual and asexual production are essentially the same : for 
the power," etc. 

Page 442, bottom line. For " inserted into the eye," read " inserted 
into the ear of an ox, lived for eight years, and acquired, according to 
Prof. Mantegazza, M a weight of 396 grammes, and the astonishing 
length of 24 centimetres, or about 9 English incites; so that the 
head of the ox appeared to bear three horns." 

Page 44:;. For foot-note 22, substitute " Degli innesti animali, etc. 
Milano, 1865, p. 51, Tab. 3." 

Page 449, 5th line from top. Strike out the sentence beginning 
" Nearly similar views," and insert " Views in some respects similar 
have been propounded, as I find by other authors." 

Page 453, 3d line from bottom. For " 4,872,000," read " 6,807, 

Pago 453. Cancel the foot-note 34, as far as the word " Harrner," 
ami insert " Mr. F. Buckland carefully calctrlated, by weighing, the 
above number of ee-o-s in a codfish ; see ' Land and Water,' 1868, p. 
62. In a previous instance he found the number to be 4,873,000." 

Paoje 463, 17 lines from top. Strike out the paragraph be- 
ginning "It was shown," and substitute the following: "As by 
our hypothesis budding or fission differs from seminal generation 
only in the manner in which the gemmules are first aggregated, we 
can understand the possibility of the formation of graft hybrids, and 
these graft-hybrids, which combine the character of the two forms 
of which the tissues have become united, connect in the closest and 
most interesting manner gemmation and sexual reproduction." 

Page 518, 16 lines from top. "Anas moschata," add " i., p. 233." 

Page 522. After " Bowen, Prof.," insert " Bowerbank, Dr., on 
the effects of a first impregnation, i., p. 485." 

Page 5:J0. Dendrocygna viduata, strike out reference to vol. i. 

Page 539. After "Hildebrand, Dr.," insert "on graft hybrids 
with the potato, L, p. 475. On the influence of the pollen on the 
mother plant, i., p. 480." 

Page 550. Under " Owen, Prof. R.," strike out reference to Bos 

Paffe 562. For " Sus Indica " read " Sus Iiulicus." 


This work is here reprinted from the English edi- 
tion, under an arrangement with the author, upon the 
recommendation of the subscriber. It is a perfect trea- 
sury of facts relative to domesticated animals and some 
of the more important cultivated plants ; of the princi- 
ples which govern the production, improvement, and 
preservation of breeds and races ; of the laws of inheri- 
tance, upon which all origination of improved varieties 
depends ; of the ill effects of breeding in-and-in, neces- 
sary though this be to the full development and perpetu- 
ation of a choice race or breed, and of the good effects of 
an occasional cross, by which, rightly managed, a breed 
may be invigorated or improved. These and various 
kindred subjects are discussed scientifically, with rare 
ability, acuteness, and impartiality, by one who has de- 
voted most of his life to this class of inquiries, and who 
discusses them in a way and style equally interesting 
and instructive to the professional naturalist or phy- 
siologist and to the general reader. To the intelligent 
agriculturist and breeder, these volumes will be especi- 
ally valuable, and it is in the interest of such practical 
men and amateurs that they are here reprinted. 


The subject is, of course, connected with the theory 
which has made . Mr. Darwin's name so famous ; a 
theory which, extending the application and range of 
these facts into past ages, regards the present species of 
plants and animals as older and stronger- marked varie- 
ties, originated under a natural selection of the sorts best 
adapted to the circumstances and conditions of each place 
and time, in a way which may fairly be compared with 
the development of our domesticated animals and plants 
under artificial selection and care. . It was the study of 
domesticated races that suggested the theory. Whether 
that stand or fall, the facts in respect to breeds and 
races, which are here so faithfully collected and discuss- 
ed, are none the worse for having served as the basis 
of ingenious speculations ; and they have an interest of 
their own, irrespective of all such theories, as well as a 
practical importance which should commend them to 
general attention. The curious speculations toward the 
close of the second volume, upon the way in which 
peculiarities may be supposed to be transmitted from 
parents to offspring, or from grandparents to a second 
or later generation and the like, are entirely independent 
of the Darwinian theory. 

The English edition being quite beyond the reach of 
the majority of readers in this country, the publishers 
of The American Agriculturist have done well in mak- 
ing these volumes generally accessible. 

A". Gray. 

Cambridge, Mass., March, 1868. 


































































PIGEONS— continued. 






























SILK-MOTHS, species and breeds of — anciently domesticated — 






PRELIMINARY REMARKS on the number and parentage of cul- 

CEREALIA. — doubts on the number of species. wheat: vari- 
eties OF INDIVIDUAL variability CHANGED habits — selection 



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
















ORNAMENTAL TREES — their variation in degree and kind — 
















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

stripes 75 

2. Head of Japan or Masked Pig 90 

3. Head of Wild Boar, and of " Golden Days," a pig of 

the Yorkshire large breed 93 

4. Old Irish Pig, with jaw-appendages 97 

5. Half-lop Rabbit 186 

c. Skull of Wild Rabbit 1-17 

7 Skull of large Lop-eared Rabbit N7 


8. Part of Zygomatic Arch, showing the projecting end 

of the malar-bone, and the auditory meatus, of rab- 
BITS 148 

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

of Rabbits 148 

10. Occipital Foramen of Rabbits 148 

11. Skull of Half-lop Rabbit 149 

12. Atlas Vertebra of Rabbits 151 

13. Third Ceryical Vertebrae of Rabbits 152 

14. Dorsal Yertebrj;, from sixth to tenth inclusive, of Rab- 

bits 153 

15. Terminal Bone of Sternum of Rabbits 154 

16. Acromion of Scapula of Rabbits 154 

17. The Rock-Pigeon, or Columba Liyia 168 

18. English Pouter 170 

19. English Carrier 174 

20. English Barb 180 

21. English Fantail .. 182 

22. African Owl 185 

23. Short-faced English Tumbler 188 

24. Skulls of Pigeons, yiewed laterally 201 

25. Lower Jaws of .Pigeons, seen from aboye 202 

26. Skull of Runt, seen from above 203 

27. Lateral yiew of Jaws of Pigeons 203 

28. Scapula of Pigeons 206 

29. Furcul^e of Pigeons 206 

'30. Spanish Fowl .. 274 

31. Hamburgh Fowl 277 

32. Polish Fowl 279 

33. Occipital Foramen of the Skulls of Fowls .... .. 316 

34. Skulls of Fowls, viewed from above, a little obliquely 316 

35. Longitudinal sections of Skulls of Fowls, viewed lat- 

erally 318 

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

obliquely 320 

37. Sixth Cervical Vertebra of Fowls, viewed laterally . . 323 

38. Extremity of the Furcula of Fowls, viewed laterally 324 

39. Skulls of Ducks, viewed laterally, reduced to two 

thirds of the natural size 340 

40. Cervical Vertebra of Ducks, of natural size 342 

41. Pods of the Common Pea 395 

42. Peach and Almond Stones, of natural size, viewed edge- 

ways 406 

43. Plum Stones, of natural size, viewed laterally .. .. 416 





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 in- 
tention to give under the head of each species- only such 
facts as I have been able to collect or observe, showing 
the amount and nature of the changes which animals and 
plants have undergone whilst under man's dominion, or 
which bear on the general principles of variation. In 
one case alone, namely, in that of the domestic pigeon, I 
will describe fully all the chief races, their history, the 
amount and nature of their differences, and the probable 
steps by which they have been formed. I have selected 
this case, because, as we shall hereafter see, the materials 
are better than in any other ; and one case fully describ- 
ed will in fact illustrate all others-. But I shall also de- 
scribe domesticated rabbits, fowls, and ducks, with con- 
siderable fulness. 

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


best arranged. I have deteraiined in the first part to 
give, under the heads of the various animals and plants, 
a large body of facts, some of which may at first appear 
but little related to our subject, and to devote the latter 
part to general discussions. Whenever I have found it 
necessary to give numerou details, in support of any 
proposition or conclusion, small type has been used. The 
reader will, I think, find this plan a convenience, for, if 
he does not doubt the conclusion or care about the de- 
tails, he can easily pass them over ; yet I may be permit- 
ted 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 spe- 
cies. 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 " tam- 
pering with nature " and causing variability. If organic 
beings had not possessed an inherent tendency to vary, 
man could have done nothing. 2 He unintentionally ex- 
poses his animals and plants to various conditions of life, 

1 To any one who has attentively read 2 M. Pouehet has recently (' Plurality 
my ' Origin of Species ' this Introduction of Races,' Eng. Translat., 1S64, p. 83, 
will be superfluous. As I stated in that &c.) insisted that variation under do- 
work that I should soon publish the facts mestication throws no light on the natu- 
on which the conclusions given in it ral modification of species. I cannot 
were founded, I here beg permission to perceive the force of his arguments, or, 
remark that the great delay in publish- to speak more accurately, of his asser- 
ing this first work has been caused by tions to this effect, 
continued ill-health. 


au<l variability supervenes, which he cannot even prevent 
or check. Consider the simple case of a plant which has 
been cultivated during a long time in its native country, 
and which consequently has not been subjected to any 
change of climate. It has been protected to a certain 
extent from the competing roots of plants of other kinds ; 
it has generally been grown in manured soil, but proba- 
bly not richer than that of many an alluvial flat ; and 
lastly, it has been exposed to changes in its conditions, 
being grown sometimes in one district and sometimes in 
another, in different soils. Under such circumstances, 
scarcely a plant can be named, though cultivated in the 
rudest manner, which has not given birth to several va- 
rieties. 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 inevi- 
tably 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 noth- 
ing, 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 na- 
ture 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 spe- 
cies in a state of nature undergo change. 

I shall in this volume treat, as fully as my materials 
permit, the Whole subject of variation under domestica- 
tion. 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 domes- 
ticated organisms are liable. We shall learn something 
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 con- 
ditions of life, and likewise Avhen they are too closely 
interbred. During this investigation Ave 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 inten- 
tionally, or unconsciously and unintentionally. Man may 
select and preserve each successive variation, Avith the 
distinct intention of improving and altering a breed, in 
accordance with a preconceived idea; and by thus adding 
up variations, often so slight as to be imperceptible by 
an uneducated eye, he has effected wonderful changes and 
improvements. It can, also, be clearly shown that man, 
Avithout any intention or thought of improving the breed, 
by preserving in each successive generation the indivi- 
duals which he prizes most, and by desti'oying the Avorth- 
less individuals, slowly, though surely, induces great 
changes. As the will of man thus comes into play, we 
can understand Iioav it is that domesticated breeds sIioav 
adaptation to his wants and pleasures. We can further 
understand Iioav it is that domestic races of animals and 
cultivated races of plants often exhibit an abnormal cha- 
racter, as compared Avith natural species ; for they have 
been modified not for their own benefit, but for that of 

In a second Avork I shall discuss the variability of or- 
ganic 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 impos- 
sible it often is, to distinguish between races and sub- 
species, as the less well-marked forms have sometimes 
been denominated ; and again between sub species and 
true species. I shall further attempt to show that it is 
the common and widely ranging, or, as they may be 
called, the dominant species, which most frequently vary ; 
and that it is the large and flourishing genera which in- 
clude the greatest number of varying species. Varieties, 
as we shall see, may justly be called incipient species. 

But it maybe urged, granting that organic beings in a 
state of nature present some varieties, — that their organi- 
zation is in some slight degree plastic ; granting that 
many animals and plants have varied greatly under do- 
mestication, and that man by his power of selection has 
gone on accumulating such variations until he has made 
strongly marked and firmly inherited races ; granting all 
this, how, it may be asked, have species arisen in a state 
of nature ? The differences between natural varieties are 
slight ; whereas the differences are considerable between 
the species of the same genus, and great between the 
species of distinct genera. How do these lesser differ- 
ences become augmented into the greater difference ? 
How do varieties, or as I have called them incipient 
species, become converted into true and well-defined 
species? How has each new species been adapted to 
the surrounding physical conditions, and to the other 
forms of life on which it in any way depends ? We see 
on every side of us innumerable adaptations and contri- 
vances, 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 

' Leon Dufour in ' Annates Jes Scienc. Nat.' (8rd series, Zoolog.), torn. v. p. 6. 


stamens of a Scrophularia, and secretes a poison which 
produces a gall, on which the larva feeds; but there is 
another insect (Misocampus) which deposits its eggs 
"within the body of the larva within the gall, and is thus 
nourished by its living prey ; so that here a hymenopte- 
rous insect depends on a dipterous insect, and this de- 
pends 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 cha- 
racteristic of varieties into the greater differences charac- 
teristic of species and genera, including the admirable 
adaptations of each being to its complex organic and in- 
organic 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 sui*- 
face of the land or the whole ocean, would hold the pro- 
geny of a single pair after a certain number of genera- 
tions. The inevitable result is an ever-recurrent Strug- 
gle for Existence. It has truly been said that all nature 
is at Avar ; the strongest ultimately prevail, the weakest 
fail; and we well know that myriads of forms have dis- 
appeared from the face of the earth. If then organic 
beings in a state of nature vary even in a slight degree, 
owing to changes in the surrounding conditions, of which 
we have abundant geological evidence, or from any other 
cause ; if, in the long course of ages, inheritable varia- 
tions 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 varia- 
tions did never arise, seeing how many have arisen which 
man has taken advantage of for his own profit or pleasure ; 
if then these contingencies ever occur, and I do-not see 


how the probability of their occurrence can be doubted, 
then the severe and often-recurrent struggle for existence 
will determine that those variations, however slight, 
which are favourable shall be preserved or selected, and 
those which are unfavourable shall be destroyed. 

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 Avell 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 familiar- 
ity. No one objects to chemists speaking of- " elective 
affinity;" and certainly an acid has no more choice in 
combining with a base, than the conditions of life have in 
determining whether or not a new form be selected or 
preserved. The term is so far a good one as it brings 
into connection the production of domestic races by man's 
power of selection, and the natural preservation of varie- 
ties and species in a state of nature. For brevity sake I 
sometimes speak of natural selection as an intelligent 
power ; — in the same way as astronomers speak of the at- 
traction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets, 
or as agriculturists speak of man making domestic races 
by his power of selection. In the one case, as in the other, 
selection does nothing without variability, and this de- 
pends in some manner on the action of the surrounding 
circumstances on the organism. I have, also, often per- 
sonified the word Nature ; for I have found it difficult to 
avoid this ambiguity ; but I mean by nature only the ag- 
gregate 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 constitution of its inhabitants. We shall, 


also, see that the continued production cf new forms 
through natural selection, which implies that each new 
variety lias some advantage over others, almost inevita- 
bly leads to the extermination of the older and less im- 
proved forms. These latter are almost necessarily inter- 
mediate 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 Avill general!}* lead to the 
preservation of the most divergent varieties; thus the 
lesser differences characteristic of varieties come to be 
augmented into the greater differences characteristic of 
species, and, by the extermination of the older inter 
mediate 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 families. 

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 de- 
gree, and as natural selection acts exclusively by the 
preservation of variations which are advantageous under 
the excessively complex conditions to which each being 
is exposed, no limit exists to the number, singularity, and 
perfection of the contrivances and co-adaptations which 
may thus be produced. An animal or a plant may thus 
slowly become related in its structure and habits in the 
most intricate manner to many other animals and plants, 
and to the physical conditions of its home. Variations 
in the organization will in some cases be aided by habit, 
or by the use and disuse of parts, and they will be gov- 


erned by the direct action of the surrouuding physical 
conditions and by correlation of growth. 

On the principles here briefly sketched out, there is 
no innate or necessary tendency in each being to its own 
advancement in the scale of 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 modifications of 
structure, and as the conditions of life in each area gen- 
eral^ become more and more complex, from the increas- 
ing number of different forms which inhabit it and from 
most of these forms acquiring a more and more perfect 
structure, Ave 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 apparently 
has occurred, fitted for simpler conditions of life; and 
in this case natural selection would tend to simplify or de- 
grade the organization, for complicated mechanism for 
simple actions would be useless or even disadvanta- 

In a second work, after treating of the Variation of 
organisms in a state of nature, of the Struggle for Exist- 
ence and the principle of Natural Selection, I shall dis- 
cuss 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 question of Ilybridity ; and, lastly, the ab- 
sence, at the present time and in our geological forma- 


tions, of innumerable links connecting all allied species. 
Although some of these difficulties are of great weight, 
we shall see that many of them are explicable on the 
theory of natural selection, and are otherwise inexplica- 

In scientific investigations it is permitted to invent 
any hypothesis, and if it explains various large and 
independent classes of facts it rises to the rank of a 
well-grounded theory. The undulations of the ether and 
even its existence are hypothetical, yet every one now 
admits the undulatory theory of light. The principle 
of natural selection may be looked at as a mere hypoth- 
esis, 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 inev- 
itable preservation of favourable variations, — and from 
the analogical formation of domestic races. Now this 
hypothesis may be tested, — and this seems to me the 
only fair and legitimate manner of considering the whole 
question, — by trying whether it explains several large 
and independent classes of facts; such as the geological 
succession of organic beings, their distribution in past 
and present times, and their mutual affinities and homol- 
ogies. If the principle of natural selection does explain 
these and other large bodies of facts, it ought to be re- 
ceived. On the ordinary view of each species having 
been independently created, Ave gain no scientific expla- 
nation of any one of these facts. "We can only say that 
it has so r 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 


In a third work I shall try the principle of natural se- 
lection 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. When I visited, during the voyage 
of II.M.S. Beagle, the Galapagos 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 harsh 
cry of the carrion-hawk, in the great candlestick-like 
opuntias, I clearly perceived the neighbourhood of Ame- 
rica, though the islands were separated by so many miles 
'of ocean from 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 speci- 
fically 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 near- 
est land, namely America, whence colonists would na- 
turally 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 Malthua on Population, that Natural 
Selection was the inevitable remit 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 replacing species of the 
same peculiar genera. Thus it was when the Cordilleras 
were ascended, or the thick tropical forests peneti - ated, 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 en- 
tire difference of their productions. Again the reflection 
was forced on me that community of descent from the 
early inhabitants or colonists of South America Avould 
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 tessellated 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 similarity of 
the conditions by any means seem sufficient to account for 
the similarity of the forms of life. It is notorious that 
the fossil remains of closely consecutive formations are 
closely allied in structure, and we can at once understand 
the fact if they are 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 spe- 
cies come in gradually one by one. Ancient and extinct 
forms of life often show combined or intermediate cha- 
racters, 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 species. 

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 Avork that these complex affinities and the rules for 
classification receive a rational explanation on the prin- 
ciple of descent, together with modifications acquired 
through natural selection, entailing divergence of cha- 
racter 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 Ave 
look to the structure of an individual animal or plant, 
when we see the fore and hind limbs, the skull and ver- 
tebra?, the jaws and legs of a crab, the petals, stamens, 
■ and pistils of a flower, built on the same type or pat- 
tern. 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 lit- 
tle use and ultimately superfluous ; and tire 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 varia- 
tion first appeared in the parent, Ave shall see why rudi- 
mentary parts and organs are generally well developed 
in the individual at a very early age. On the same prin- 
ciple of inheritance at corresponding ages, and on the 
principle 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 evi- 
dence), that most wonderful fact in the whole round of 
natural history, namely, the similarity of members of the 
same great class in their embryonic condition, — the em- 
bryo, for instance, of a mammal, bird, reptile, and fish 
being barely distinguishable, — becomes simply intelli- 

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

In considering how far the theory of natural selection 
may be extended, — that is, in determining from how 
many progenitors the inhabitants of the world have 
descended, — we may conclude that at least all the 
members of the same class have descended from a sin- 
gle ancestor. A number of organic beings are included 


in the same class, because they present, independently 
of their habits of life, the same fundamental type of 
structure, and because they graduate into each other. 
Moreover, members of the same class can in most cases 
be shown to be closely alike at an early embryonic age. 
These facts can be explained on the belief of their de- 
scent from a common form ; therefore it may be safely 
admitted that all the members of the same class have 
descended from one progenitor. But as the members 
of quite distinct classes have something in common in 
structure and much in common in constitution, analogy 
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 se- 
lection. 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 consider- 
ing the theory of natural selection, he will assuredly 
meet with weighty difficulties, but these difficulties re- 
late chiefly to subjects — such as the degree of perfec- 
tion of the geological record, the means of distribution, 
the possibility of transitions in organs, &c. — on which 
we are confessedly ignorant; nor do we know how ig- 
norant we are. If we are much more ignorant than is 
generally supposed, most of these difficulties wholly dis- 
appear. Let the reader reflect on the difficulty of look- 
ing at whole classes of facts from a new point of view. 
Let him observe how slowly, but surely, the noble views 
of Lyell on the gradual changes now in progress on the 
earth's surface have been accepted as sufficient to ac- 
count for all that we see in its "past history. The pre- 
sent action of natural selection may seem more or less 
probable ; but I believe in the truth of the theory, be« 



cause it collects under one point of view, and gives a 
rational explanation of, many apparently independent 
classes of facts. 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 re- 
peatedly 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 re- 
ceived prompt, open-handed, and valu- 
able assistance. I cannot express too 
strongly my obligations to the many 
persons who have assisted me, and 
who, I am convinced, would be equal- 
ly willing to assist others in any scien- 
tific investigation. 






The first and chief point of interest in this chapter is, 
whether the numerous domesticated varieties of the dog 
have descended from a single wild species, or from several. 
Some authors believe that all have descended from the 
wolf, or from the jackal, or from an unknown and extinct 
species. Others again believe, and this of late has been 
the favourite tenet, that they have descended from several 
species, extinct and recent, more or less commingled to- 
gether. We shall probably never be able to ascertain 

28 DOGS. Chap. I. 

their origin with certainty. Palaeontology ' does not 
throw much light on the question, owing, on the one 
hand, to the close similarity of the skulls of extinct as 
well as living wolves and jackals, and owing on the other 
hand to the great dissimilarity of the skulls of the several 
breeds of the domestic dogs. It seems, however, that 
remains have been found in the later tertiary deposits 
more like those of a large dog than of a wolf, which 
favours the belief of De Blainville that our dogs are the 
descendants of a single extinct species. On the other 
hand, some authors go so far as to assert that every chief 
domestic breed must have had its wild prototype. This 
latter view is extremely improbable ; it allows nothing 
for variation ; it passes over the almost monstrous charac- 
ter of some of the breeds ; and it almost necessarily as- 
sumes, 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 Ireland. 

The reasons which have led various authors to infer 
that our dogs have descended from more than one wild 
species are as follows. 2 Firstly, the great difference be- 

1 Owen, 'British Fossil Mammals,' p. Gliddon, in the United States. Prof. Low, 
128 to 133. Pictet's "Traite de Pal.,' in his 'Domesticated Animals,' 1845, p. 
1853, torn. i. p. 202. De Blainville, in 666, comes to this same conclusion. No 
his 'Osteographie, Canidaj,' p. 142, has one has argued on this side with more 
largely discussed the whole subject and clearness and force than the late James 
concludes that the extinct parent of all Wilson, of Edinburgh, in various papers 
domesticated dogs came nearest to the read before the Highland Agricultural 
wolf in organization, and to the jackal in and Wernerian Societies. Isidor Geof- 
habits. froy St. Hilaire ('Hist. Nut. Gen.,' 1S60, 

2 Pallas, I believe, originated this doc- torn. Hi. p. 107), though he believes that 
trine in ' Act. Aead. St, Petersburgh,' most dogs have descended from the jack- 
17S0, Partii. Ehrenberg has advocated al, yet inclines to the belief that some are 
it, as may be seen in De Blainville's descended from the wolf. Prof. Gervais 
• Osteographie,' p. 79. It has been carried (' Hist, Nat. Mamm.,' 1855, torn. ii. p. 69), 
to an extreme extent by Col. Hamilton referring to the view that all the domestic 
Smith in the ' Naturalist Library,' vol. ix. raoes are the modified descendants of a 
and x. Mr. W. C Martin adopts it in single species, after a long discussion, 
his excellent ' History of the Dog,' 1845 ; says, " Cette opinion est, suiyantnous du 
as does Dr. Morton, as well as Nott and moins, la moins probable." 

Chap. i. TIIEIll PARENTAGE. 29 

tween the several breeds; but this will appear of com- 
paratively little weight, after Ave shall have seen how 
great are the differences between the several races of 
various domesticated animals which certainly have de- 
scended from a single parent-form. Secondly, the more 
important fact that, at the most anciently known histori- 
cal 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 four- 
teenth century and the Roman classical period. 3 At this 
earlier period 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 beau- 
tiful sculpture of two greyhound puppies from the Villa 
of Antoninus. On an Assyrian monument, about 640 B.C., 
an enormous mastiff 4 is figured ; and according to Sir H. 
Rawlinson (as I was informed at the British Museum), 
similar dogs are still imported into this same country. I 
have looked through the magnificent works of Lepsius 
and Rosellini, and on the 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 droop- 
ing ears, but with a longer back and more pointed head 

3 Berjeau, ' The Varieties of the Dog ; from the tomb of the son of Esar Had- 
in old Sculptures and Pictures,' 1S63. don, and clay models in the British Mu- 
' Der Hund,' von Dr. F. L. Walther, s. 48, seum. Nott and Gliddon, in their 
Giessen, 1S17 : this author seems care- ' Types of Mankind,' 1S54, p. 393, give a 
fully to have studied all classical works copy of these drawings. This dog has 
on the subject. See also ' Volz, Beitrage been called a Thibetan mastiff, but Mr. 
zur Kulturgeschichte,' Leipzig, l$. r >2, s. H. A. Oldfield, who is familiar with the 
1 13. ' Youatt on the Dog,' 134o, p. 6. A so-called Thibet mastiff, and lias examiu- 
very full history is given by De Blainville ed the drawings in the British Museum, 
in his ' Osteographie, Canidae.' informs me that he considers them dif- 

4 I have seen drawings of this dog ferent. 

30 DOGS. Chap. I. 

than in our hounds. There is, also, a turnspit, with short 
and crooked legs, closely resembling the existing variety ; 
but this kind of monstrosity is so common with various 
animals, as with the ancon sheep, and even, according to 
Rengger, with jaguars in Paraguay, that it would be rash 
to look at the monumental animal as the parent of all our 
turnspits : Colonel Sykes 5 also has described an Indian 
Pariah dog as presenting the same monstrous character. 
The most ancient dog represented on the Egyptian mo- 
numents is One of the most singular ; it resembles a grey- 
hound, but has long pointed ears and a short curled tail : 
a closely allied variety still exists in Northern Africa ; for 
Mr. E. Vernon Harcourt 6 states that the Arab boar-hound 
is " an eccentric hieroglyphic animal, such as Cheops once 
hunted with, somewhat resembling the rough Scotch 
deer-hound ; their tails are curled tight round on their 
backs, and their ears stick out at right angles." "With 
this most ancient variety a pariah-like dog coexisted. 

We thus see that, at a period between four and five 
thousand years ago, various breeds, viz. pariah dogs, 
greyhounds, common hounds, mastiffs, house-dogs, lap- 
dogs, and turnspits, existed, more or less closely resem- 
bling our present breeds. But there is not sufficient 
evidence that any of these ancient dogs belonged to the 
same idential 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 

8 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' July l?th, 1831. living dogs. Messrs. Nott and Gliddon 

* 'Sporting in Algeria,' p. 51. ('Types of Mankind,' 1854, p. 38S) give 

' Berjeau gives fac-similes of the still more numerous figures. Mr. Glid- 

Egyptian drawings. Mr. C. L.Martin, don asserts that a curl-tailed greyhound, 

in his ' History of the Dog,' 1845, copies like that represented on the most ancient 

several figures from the Egyptian monu- monuments, is common in Borneo ; but 

ments, and speaks with much confidence the Rajah, Sir J. Brooke, informs me 

with respect to their identity with still that no such dog exists there. 


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 bear- 
ing in mind that the most barbarous nations possess do- 
mestic 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 Den- 
mark during the Bronze period by a larger kind, present- 
ing certain differences, and this again during the Iron 
period, by a still larger kind. In Switzerland we hear 
from Prof. Rutimeyer, 9 that during the Neolithic period 
a domesticated dog of middle size existed, which in its 
skull was about equally remote from the wolf and jackal, 
and partook of the characters of our hounds and setters 
or spaniels (Jagdhund und Wachtelhund). Rutimeyer 
insists strongly on the constancy of form during a very 
long period of time of this the most ancient known dog. 
During the Bronze period a larger dog appeared, and this 
closely resembled in its jaw a dog of the same age in 
Denmark. Remains of two notably distinct varieties of 
the dog were found by Schmerling in a cave ; 10 but their 
age cannot be positively determined. 

The existence of a single race, remarkably constant in 

8 These, and the following facts on the 9 ' Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 1861, 

Danish remains, are taken from M. Mor- s. 117, 162. 

lot's most interesting memoir in 'Soc. 10 De Blainville, ' Ostdographie, Ca- 

Vaudoise des Sc. Nat.,' torn, vi., 1S60, ntdse.' 
pp. 281, 299, 820. 

32 DOGS. Chap. I. 


form during the whole Neolithic period, is an interesting 
fact in contrast with what we see of the changes Avhich 
the races underwent during the period of the successive 
Egyptian monuments, and in contrast with our existing 
dogs. The character of this animal during the Neolithic 
period, as given by Rutimeyer, 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 differ- 
ent kinds of dogs in Switzerland and Denmark is thought 
to be due to the immigration of conquering tribes bring- 
ing with them their dogs ; and thia view accords with 
the belief that different wild canine animals were domes- 
ticated in different regions. Independently of the im- 
migration of new races of man, we know from the wide- 
spread presence of bronze, composed of an alloy of tin, 
how much commerce there must have been throughout 
Europe at an extremely remote period, and dogs would 
then probably have been bartered. .At the present time, 
amongst the savages of the interior of Guiana, the Taruma 
Indians are considered the best trainers of dogs, and pos- 
sess a large breed, which they barter at a high price with 
other tribes. 11 

The main argument in favour of the several breeds of 
the dog being the descendants of distinct wild stocks, is 
their resemblance in various countries to distinct species 
still existing there. It must, however, be admitted that 
the comparison between the wild and domesticated ani- 
mal has been made but in few cases with sufficient exact- 
ness. Before entering on details, it will be well to show 
that there is no a priori difficulty in the belief that seve- 
ral canine species have been domesticated ; for there is 
much difficulty in this respect with some other domestic 

11 Sir It. Schomburgk has given me 'Journal of R. Geograph. Soc.,' vol. 
Information on this head. See also xiii., 1848, p. 65. 


quadrupeds arid birds. Members of the dog family in- 
habit nearly the whole world ; and several species agree 
pretty closely in habits and structure with our several 
domesticated dogs. Mr. Galton has shown :2 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 Canidoe 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 en- 
tered 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 an- 
tarcticus) fearlessly came to meet Byron's sailors, who, 
mistaking this ignorant curiosity for ferocity, ran into 
the water to avoid them : even recently a' man, by hold- 
ing 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 Mau- 
ritius, the manatee was not at first in the least afraid of 
man, and thus it has been in several quarters of the world 
with seals and the morse. I have elsewhere shown 13 how 
slowly the native birds of several islands have acquired 
and inherited a salutary dread of man : at the Galapagos 
Archipelago I pushed with the muzzle of my gun hawks 
from a branch, and held out a pitcher of water for other 
birds to alight on and drink. Quadi-upeds and birds 
which have seldom been disturbed by man, dread him 

« 'Domestication of Animals:' Eth- ticus, see p. 193. For the case of the an- 

nological Soc, Dec. 22nd, 1863. telope, see ' Journal Royal Geograph. 

>» ' Journal of Researches,' Ac, 1845, Soc.,' vol. xxiii. p. 94. 
p. 893. With respect to Canis antarc- 

34 DOGS. Chap. I. 

no more than do our English birds the cows or horses 
grazing in the fields. 

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

We will now enter into details. The accurate and sa- 
gacious Richardson says, " The resemblance between the 
Northern American wolves ( Canis lupus, var. occidenta- 
lis) and the domestic dogs of the Indians is so great that 
the size and strength of the wolf seems to be the only 
difference. I have more than once mistaken a band of 
wolves for the dogs of a party of Indians ; and the howl 
of the animals of both species is prolonged so exactly in 
the same key that even the practised ear of the Indian 
fails at times to discriminate them." He adds that the 
more northern Esquimaux dogs are not only extremely 
like the grey wolves of the Arctic circle in form and 
colour, but also nearly equal them in size. Dr. Kane has 
often seen in his teams of sledge-dogs the oblique eye (a 
character on which some naturalists lay great stress), the 


drooping tail, and scared look of the wolf. In disposi- 
tion the Esquimaux dogs differ little from wolves, and, 
according to Dr. Hayes, they are capable of no attach- 
ment to man, and are so savage, that when hungry they 
will attack even their masters. According to Kane they 
readily become feral. Their affinity is so close with 
wolves that they frequently cross with them, and the 
Indians take the whelps of wolves " to improve the breed 
of their dogs." The half-bred wolves sometimes (Larnare- 
Picquot) cannot be tamed, " though this case is rai*e ;" 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 com- 
mon 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 Hai'e 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 

14 Tbe authorities for the foregoing ing in the eastern parts of North Ameri- 

statements are as fullow: — Richardson, ca. Seeman, in his 'Voyage of H.M.S. 

in ' Fauna Boreali-Americana, 1 1S29, pp. Herald,' 1853, vol. ii. p. 26, says the wolf 

64, 75; Dr. Kane, ' Arctic Explorations,' is often caught by the Esquimaux for the 

1356, vol. i. pp. 398, 455 ; Dr. Hayes, purpose of crossing with their dogs, and 

' Arctic Boat Journey,' 1860, p. 167. thus adding to their size and strength. 

Franklin's ' Narrative,' vol. i. p. 269, M. Lamare-Picquot, in ' Bull, de la. Soc. 

gives the case of three whelps of a black d'Acclimat.,' torn, vii., 1S60, p. 148, gives 

wolf being carried away by the Indians. a good account of the half-bred Esqui- 

Parry, Richardson, and others, give ac- maux dogs, 
counts of wolves and dogs naturally cross- 

36 DOGS. Cbup. I. 

the above two aboriginal sources cross together and with 
the wild wolves, at least with the C. occidentalism 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. 16 

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 ha*s been known since the time of Buffon that 
the natives cross their dogs with an aboriginal species, 
apparently the C'anis cancrivorus. Sir R. Schomburgk, 
who has so carefully explored these regions, writes to me, 
" I have been repeatedly told by the Arawaak Indians, 
who reside near the coast, that they cross their dogs with 
a wild species to improve the breed, and individual dogs 
have been shown to me which certainly resembled the C 
cancrivorus much more than the common breed. It is 
but seldom that the Indians keep the. C. cancrivorus for 
domestic purposes, nor is the Ai, another species of wild 
dog, and which I consider to be identical with the Dicsi- 
cyon silvestris of H. Smith, now much used by the Are- 
cunas for the purpose of hunting. The dogs of the 
Taruma Indians are quite distinct, and resemble Buffon's 
St. Domingo greyhound." It thus appears that the 
natives of Guiana have partially domesticated two abo- 
riginal species, and still cross their dogs with them ; these 
two species belong to a quite different type from the 
North American and European wolves. A careful observ- 

18 ' Fauna Boreali-Americana,' 1829, vol. ii. p. 218), says that the Indian dog 
pp. 73, 78, 80. Nott and Gliddon, ' Types of the Spokans, near the Rocky Moun- 
of Mankind,' p. 3S3. The naturalist and tains, " is beyond all question nothing 
traveller Bartram is quoted by Hamilton more than a tamed Cayote or prairie- 
Smith, in ' Nat. Hist. Lib.,' vol. x. p. 156. wolf," or Canis latram. 
A Mexican domestic dog seems also to ie I quote this from Mr. R. Hill's 
resemble a wild dog of the same country ; excellent account of the Alco or domes- 
but this may be the prairie-wolf. Another tic dog of Mexico, in Gosse's 'Natural- 
capable judge, Mr. J. K. Lord (' The ist's Sojourn in Jamaica,' 1851, p. 329. 
Naturalist in Vancouver Island,' 1866, 


er, Rengger, 17 gives reasons for believing that a hairless 
dog was domesticated when America was first visited by- 
Europeans : some of these dogs in Paraguay are still 
dumb, and Tschudi 18 states that they suffer from cold in 
the Cordillera. This naked dog is, however, quite distinct 
from that found preserved in the ancient Peruvian burial- 
places, and described by Tschudi, under the name of 
Canis Ingce, as withstanding cold well and as barking. It 
is not known whether these two distinct kinds of dog are 
the descendants of native species, and it might be argued 
that when man first migrated into America he brought 
with him from the Asiatic continent dogs which had 
not learned to bark; but this view does not seem probable, 
as the natives along the line of their march from the 
north reclaimed, as we have seen, at least two 1ST. Ameri- 
can species of Canidre. 

Turning to the Old World, some European dogs closely 
resemble the wolf; thus the shepherd dog of the plains 
of Hungary is white or reddish-brown, has a sharp nose, 
short, erect ears, shaggy coat, and bushy tail, and so much 
resembles a wolf that Mr. Paget, who gives this descrip- 
tion, 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. Shep- 
herd 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 

17 ' Naturgeschichte der Saeugethiere 'Fauna Hungaria; Supcrloris,' 1862, s. 
von Paraguay,' 1S30, s. 151. 13. See Pliny, ' Hist, of the World ' 

18 Quoted in Humboldt's ' Aspects (Eng. transl.), 8th book, ch. xl., about 
of Nature,' Eng. transl., vol. i. p. the Gauls crossing their dogs. See also 
108. Aristotle, 'Hist. Animal.' lib. viii. c. 

19 Paget's 'Travels in Hungary and 2S. For good evidence about wolves 
Transylvania,' vol. i. p. 501. Jeitteles, and dogs naturally crossing near the 

38 DOGS. Chap. I. 

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 Hi- 
laire 21 says that not one constant difference can be pointed 
out between their structure and that of the smaller races 
of dogs. They agree closely in habits : jackals, when 
tamed and called by their master, wag their tails, crouch, 
and throw themselves on their backs ; they smell at the 
tails of dogs, and void their urine sideways. 23 A number 
of excellent naturalists, from the time of Giildenstadt 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 " asserts that the domestic dogs of 
Lower Egypt, and certain mummied dogs, have for their 
wild type a species of wolf ( C. lupaster) of the country ; 
whereas the domestic dogs of Nubia and certain other 
mummied dogs have the closest relation to a wild species 
of the same country, viz. C. sabbar, which is only a form 
of the common jackal. Pallas asserts that jackals and 
dogs sometimes naturally cross in the East ; and a case is 

Pyrenees, see M. Mauduyt, ' Du Loup borative evidence with respjct to the 

et de ses Races,' Poitiers, 1851 ; also dogs of the valley of the Nerbudda. 

Pallas, in ' Acta Acad. St. Petersburgh,' 21 For numerous and interesting de- 

17S0, part ii. p. 94. tails on the resemblance of dogs and 

20 I give this on excellent authority, jackals, gee Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 

namely, Mr. Blyth (under the signature ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' 1860, torn. iii. p. 101. 

of Zoophilus), in the ' Indian Sporting See also ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes,' 

Review,' Oct. 1S56, p. 134. Mr. Blyth par Prof. Gervais, 1855, torn. ii. p. 60. 

stat-js that he was struck with the 2a Giildenstadt, ' Nov. Comment. Acad, 

resemblance between a brush-tailed race Petrop.,' torn, xx., pro anno 1775, p. 449. 

of pariah-dogs, north-west of Cawnpore, 23 Quoted by De Blainville in his 

and the Indian wolf. He gives corro- ' Osteographie, Canidae,' pp. 79, 93. 


on record in Algeria." 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 Gui- 
nea are foxlike animals, and are dumb. 26 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 Rev. S. Erhardt informs me, is kept, which the na- 
tives assert is derived from a similar wild animal. Lich- 
tenstein ~ 6 says that the dogs of the Bosjemans present a 
striking resemblance even in colour (excepting the black 
stripe down the back) with the G. mesomelas of South 
Africa. Mr. E. Layard informs me that he has seen a 
Caifre dog which closely resembled an Esquimaux dog. 
In Australia the Dingo is both domesticated and wild; 
though this animal may have been introduced aboriginally 
by man, yet it must be considered as almost an endemic 
form, for its remains have been found in a similar state of 
preservation and associated with extinct mammals, so that 
its introduction must have been ancient." 

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 domestic dogs of the world 
have descended from two good species of wolf (viz. 61 
.lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other doubt- 

84 See Pallas, in ' Act. Acad. St. Pe- - 7 SelwyD, Geology of Victoria ;' Jour- 

tersburgh,' 1780, part ii. p. 91. For nal of Geolog. Soc.,' vol. xiv., 185S, p. 

Algeria, see Isiil. Oeoffroy St. Hilaire, 536, and vol. xvi., 1860, p. 148 ; and 

' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 177. In Prof. M'Coy, in 'Annate and Mag. of Nat. 

both countries it is the male jackal Hist.' (3rd series), vol. ix., lS6i, p. 147. 

which pairs with female domestic dogs. The Dingo differs from the dogs of the 

25 John Barbut's ' Description of the central Polynesian islands. Dleffenbach 

Coast of Guinea in 1746.' remarks ('Travels,' vol. ii. p. 46) that 

28 ' Travels in South Africa,' vol. Ii. p. the native New Zealand dog also differs 

272. from the Dingo. 

40 DOGS. Chap, ft 

ful 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 spe- 
cies. Those authors who attribute great influence to the 
action of climate by itself may thus account for the re- 
semblance of the domesticated dogs and native animals 
in the same countries ; but I know of no facts supporting 
the belief in so powerful an action of climate. 

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 
Canas primwmis 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 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 

28 'Proceedings Zoolog. Soc.,' 1S33, p. 'History Nat. Mamm.,' torn. ii. p. 61. 

112. See, also, on the taming of the With respect to the aguara of Paraguay, 

common wolf, L. Lloyd, ' Scandinavian see Rengger's work. 

Adventures,' vol. i. p. 460, 1854. With 2 > Roulin, in ' Mem. present, par di- 

respect to the jackal, see Prof. Gervais, vers Savans,' torn. vi. p. 341. 

Chap. I. THEIR PARENT AGE. . 41 

dogs, of the Canis latrans type, when brought to Eng- 
land, never learned to hark properly ; but one born in 
the Zoological Gardens 30 "made his voice sound as loud- 
ly as any other dog of the same age and size." Accord- 
ing to Professor Nillson, 31 a wolf-whelp reared by a bitch 
barks. I. Geoffroy Saint Ililaire exhibited a jackal which 
barked with the same tone as any common dog. 3a An 
interesting account has been given by Mr. G. Clarke 3S 
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 ha- 
bits 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. In St. Domingo, Col. Ham. Smith says" 
that the feral dogs are very large, like greyhounds, of a 
uniform pale blue-ash, with small ears, and large light- 
brown eyes. Even the wild Dingo, though so anciently 

30 Martin, 'History of the Dog,' p. 14. ' Discours, Exposition des Races Ca- 

* 31 Quoted by L. Lloyd in ' Field Sports nines,' 1S65, p. 3. 

of North of Europe,' vol. i. p. 3S7. 3S With respect to wolves burrowing 

33 Quatrefages, ' Soc. d'Acclimat.,' holes, see Richardson, ' Fauna Boreali- 

May 11th, 1S63, p. 7. Americana,' p. 64 ; and Bechstcin, ' Na- 

33 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' turgesch. Deutchlands,' b. i. s. 617. 
vol. xv., 1S45, p. 140. 39 See Poeppig, ' Reise in Chile,' b. i. 

34 Azara, ' Voyages dans l'Amer. Me- s. 290; Mr. (x. Clarke, as above; and 
rid.,' torn. i. p. 3S1 ; his account is fully Rengger, s. 155. 

confirmed by Rengger. Quatrefages 37 Dogs, ' Nat. Library,' vol. x. p. 

gives an account of a bitch brought 121 : an endemic South American dog 

from Jerusalem to France which bur- seems also to have become feral in this 

rowed a hole and littered in it. See island. See Gosse's ' Jamaica,' p. 340. 

42 - DOGS. Chap. L 

naturalised in Australia, " varies considerably in colour," 
as I am informed by Mr. P. P. King : a half-bred Dingo 
reared in England 3e showed signs of wishing to bur- 

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 grey- 
hounds 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 mon- 
grel, and some fox-hounds, coloured black and white, with not a 
trace of tan-colour, excepting the spots over the eyes, and some- 
times 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 
som'e way correlated. I have noticed, in various breeds, every gra- 
dation, 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 

38 Low, 'Domesticated Animals,' p. 650. 


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 tan-coloured stripe over the eyes, 
feet, and chaps; and what is more singular, he figures the Alco, or 
native domestic dog of Mexico, as black and white, with narrow 
tan-coloured rings round the eyes ; at the Exhibition of dogs in 
London, May, 1863, a so-called forest-dog from North-West Mexico 
was shown, which had pale tan-coloured spots over the eyes. The 
occurrence of these tan-coloured spots in dogs of such extremely 
different breeds, living in various parts of the world, makes the 
fact highly remarkable. 

We shall hereafter see, especially in the chapter on Pigeons, that 
coloured marks are strongly inherited, and that they often aid us in 
discovering the primitive forms of our domestic races. Hence, if 
any wild canine species had distinctly exhibited the tan-coloured 
spots over the eyes, it might have been argued that this was the pa- 
rent-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 tha,t some extinct species was thus coloured. On the 
other hand, in looking at the various species, there seems to be a tol- 
erably plain correlation between tan-coloured legs and face ; and 
less frequently between black legs and a black face ; and this gene- 
ral rule of colouring explains to a certain extent the above-given 
cases of correlation between the eye-spots and the colour of the feet. 
Moreover, some jackals and foxes have a trace of a white ring round 
their eyes, as in C. mesomelas, C. aureus, and (judging from Colonel 
Ham. Smith's drawing) in 0. alopex and C. thaleb. Other species have 
a trace of a black line over the corners of the eyes, as in C. cariega- 
tu», cinereo-variegatus, and f ulcus, and the Avild Dingo. Hence I 
am inclined to conclude that a tendency for tan-coloured spots to ap- 
pear 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 terminate 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 gestation are different. The supposed difference rests 

*• ' The Naturalist Library,' Dogs, vol. *° Quoted by Prof. Oervais 'Hist. Nat. 

x. pp. 4, 19. Mamm.,' torn. ji. p. 66. 

44 DOGS. Chap. L 

on statements made by Buffon, Gilibert, Bechstein, and 
others ; but these are now known to be erroneous ; and 
the period is found to agree in the wolf, jackal, and dog, 
as closely as could be expected, for it is often in some de- 
gree variable. 41 Tessier, who has closely attended to this 
subject, allows a difference of four days in the gestation 
of the dog. The Rev. W. D. Fox has given me three 
carefully recorded cases of retrievers, in which the bitch 
was put only once to the dog ; and not counting this day, 
but counting that of parturition, the periods were fifty- 
nine, sixty-two, and sixty-seven days. The average pe- 
riod 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 with large than with 
small dosjs. 

F. Cuvier has objected that the jackal would nothave 
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 ter- 
riers — differ much in this respect ; and M. Godron states 
that the hairless so-called Turkish dog is more odoriferous 

41 J. Hunter shows that the long pe- two months and a few days, which agrees 

riod of seventy-three days given by Buf- with the dog. Isid. G. St. Hilaire, who 

fon is easily explained by the bitch liav- has discussed the whole subject, and from 

ing received the dog many times during whom I quote Bellingeri, states (' Hist. 

a period of sixteen days (' Phil. Trans- Nat. Gen., 1 torn. iii. p. 112) that in the 

act.,' 178T, p. 253). Hunter found that Jardin des Plantes the period of the 

the gestation of a mongrel from wolf and jackal has been found to be from sixty 

dog (' Phil. Transact.,' 1789, p. 1G0) ap- to sixty-three days, exactly as with the 

parently was sixty-three days, for she dog. 

received the dog more than once. The 42 See Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 'Hist, 

period of a mongrel dog and jackal was Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 112, on the odour 

fifty-nine days. Fred. Cuvier found the of jackals. Col. Ham. Smith, in ' Nat. 

period of gestation of the wolf to be Hist. Lib.,' vol. x. p. 289. 
(' Diet. Class d'Hist. Nat.,', torn. iv. p. S) 


than other dogs. Isidore Geoffroy" 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 avoIvcs, 
jackals, South American Canidoe, and other species sug- 
gests 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 inter- 
crossed ; and such sterility will be admitted as almost cer- 
tain by all those who believe that the lessened fertility of 
crossed forms is an infallible criterion of specific distinct- 
ness. Anyhow these animals keep distinct in the countries 
which they inhabit in common. On the other hand, all 
domestic dogs, which are here supposed to be descended ' 
from several distinct species, are, as far as is known, mu- 
tually fertile together. But, as Broea 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 conclusion that the sexual feelings and re- 
productive powers diifer in the several races of the dog 
when crossed are (passing over mere size as rendering pro- 
pagation difficult) as follows : the Mexican Alco 4S appa- 
rently dislikes dogs of other kinds, but this perhaps is not 
strictly a sexual feeling ; the hairless endemic dog of Par- 
aguay, according to Rengger, mixes less with the Euro- 
pean 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 

43 Quoted by Quatrefages in ' Bull. Soc. guay,' s. 153. With respect to Spitz 
d'Acclimat.,' May 11th, 1S63. dogs, see Bechstein's ' Naturgeseh. 

44 ' Journal de la Physiologie,' torn. ii. Deutschlands,' 1801, b. i. s. 638. With 
p. 3S5. respect to Dr. Hodgkin's statement made 

45 See Mr. R. Hill's excellent account before Brit. Assoc, see ' The Zoologist, 
of this breed in Gosse's 'Jamaica,' p. vol. iv., for 1845-46, p. 1097. 

U88 ; Rengger's ' Saeugethiere von Para- 

46 DOGS. Chap. L 

of sexual difference in the breeds of the dog. But the 
fact remains that our domestic dogs, differing so widely as 
they do in external structure, are far more fertile together 
than we have reason to believe their supposed wild parents 
would have been. Pallas assumes 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 (independently of 
the evidence derived from other domesticated animals) in 
favour of our domestic dogs having descended from seve- 
ral 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, which in external appearance so closely 
resembles the European wolf, ought to be crossed with 
this wolf; and the pariah-dogs of India with Indian 
wolves and jackals ; and so in other cases. That the 
sterility is very slight between certain dogs and wolves 
and other Canida3 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 thii'd generation, and those from the jackal 
and dog at the fourth generation. 48 But these animals 
were closely confined ; and many wild animals, as we 

41 ' Acta Acad. St. Petersburgh,' 17S0, many facts on the fertility of crossed 

part ii. pp. 84, 100. dogs, wolves, and jackals. 

47 M. Broca has shown (' Journal de ia ' De la Longevite Humaine,' par M. 

Physiologie,' torn. ii. p. 353) thatBuffon's . Flourens, 1855, p. 143. Mr. Blyth says 

experiments have been often misrepre- (' Indian Sporting Review,' vol. ii. p. 137) 

sented. Broca has collected (pp. 390-395) that he has seen in India several hybrids 


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 Lon- 
don ; M 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 tbe 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 confine- 
ment, 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 gene- 
ration was so sterile that, as I was assured by 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 ex- 
periments on the crossing of animals there are so many 
causes of doubt, that it is extremely difficult to come to 
any positive conclusion. It would, however, appear, that 
those who believe that our dogs are descended from 
several species will have not only to admit that their 
offspring after a long course of domestication generally 
lose all tendency to sterility Avhen crossed together; but 
that between certain breeds of dogs and some of their 
Supposed aboriginal parents a certain degree of sterility 
has been retained or possibly even acquired. 

from the pariah-dog and jackal ; and be- 49 On authority of F. Cuvier, quoted 

tween one of these hybrids and a terrier. In Bronn's 'Geschichte der Natur,' B. ii. 

The experiments of Hunter on the Jackal s. 164. 

are well known. See also Isid. GeofTroy 60 W. C. L. Martin, ' History of the 

St. Hilaire, 'Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. Dog,' 1S45, p. 203. Mr. Philip P. Kin?, 

217, who speaks of the hybrid offspring after ample opportunities of observation, 

of the jackal as perfectly fertile for three informs me that the Dingo and European 

generations. dogs often cross in Australia. 

48 DOGS. Chap. I. 

Notwithstanding the difficulties in regard to fertility- 
given in the last two paragraphs, when we reflect on 
the inherent improbability of man having domesticated 
throughout the world one single species alone of so 
widely distributed, so easily tamed, and so useful a 
group as the Canidae ; when we reflect on the extreme 
antiquity of the different breeds ; and especially when 
we reflect on the close similarity, both in external struc- 
ture 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 beticeen the several Breeds of the Dog. — If 
the several breeds have descended from several wild 
stocks, their difference can obviously in part be explained 
by that of their parent-species. For instance, the form 
of the greyhound may be partly accounted for by descent 
from some such animal as the slim Abyssinian Canis si- 
mensis,™ 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 63 a large amount of variation. The inter- 
crossing of the several aboriginal wild stocks, and of the 
subsequently formed races, has probably increased the 
total number of breeds, and, as we shall presently see, 
has greatly modified some of them. But we cannot ex- 
plain by crossing the origin of such extreme forms as 
thoroughbred greyhounds, bloodhounds, bulldogs, Blen- 
heim spaniels, terriers, pugs, &c, unless we believe that 
forms equally or more strongly characterised in these 
different respects once existed in nature. But hardly any 

61 Ruppel, ' Neue Wirbelthiere von fine animal in the British Museum 
Abyssinien,' 1835-40 ; 'Mammif.'s. 39. " Even Pallas admits this : see 'Act 

pi. xiv. There is a specimen of this Acad. St. Petersburg!!,' 1730, p. 93. 


one has been bold enough to sujipose that such unnatural 
forms ever did or could exist in a wild state. When 
compared. with all known members of the family of Ca- 
nidse 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 at- 
tempt to enumerate or describe the varieties, for we cannot discri- 
minate how much of their difference is due to variation, aad 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 63 that in form the differences are " plus 
fortes que celles d'aucunes especes sauvages d'un mime genre na- 
turel." The proportions of the different bones ; the curvature of the 
lower jaw, the position of the condyles with respect to the plane of 
the teeth (on which F. Cuvier founded his classification), and in 
mastiffs the shape of its posterior branch ; the shape of the zygoma- 
tic 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 ; 65 and Pro- 
fessor Gervais gaya that there are dogs " qui out sept paires de dents 
superieures et huit inferieures." De Blainville 66 has given full par- 
ticulars 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. Midler, 67 
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, 08 — sometimes having none except one molar on each side ; 

63 Quoted by I. Geoffroy, ' Hist. Nat. teographie, Canidae,' p.137) has also seen 

Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 453. an extra molar on both sides. 

51 F. Cuvier, in 'Annales du Museum,' 5S Osteographie, Canidaj,' p. 137. 

torn, xviii. p. 337 ; Godron, 'De l'Espece,' »' Wurzburger, ' Medecin. Zeitschrift,' 

torn. i. p. 342 ; and Col. Ham. Smith, in 1S60, B. i. s. 265. 

' Naturalist's Library,' vol. ix. p. 101. 6B Mr. Yarrell, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 

66 Isid. Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, 'Hist. Oct. 8th, 1S33. Mr. Waterhouse showed 

des Anomalies,' 1S32, torn. i. p. C60. me a skull of one of these dogs, which 

Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes,' had only a single molar on each side and 

torn. 1L, 1855, p. 66. De Blainville, ('Os- some imperfect incisors. 

50 DOGS. Chap. I. 

but this, though characteristic of the breed, must be considered as a 
monstrosity. M. Girard, 69 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 m 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 mamma? 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 developed ; and, in this 
case, sometimes the great cuneiform bone is raised, and gives on its 
inner side a large articular surface to the astragalus ; so that even 
the relative connection of the bones, the most constant of all cha- 
racters, varies. These modifications, however, in the feet of dogs 
are not important, because they ought to be ranked, as De Blain- 
ville has shown, 63 as monstrosities. Nevertheless they are interest- 
ing 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 

69 Quoted in ' The Veterinary,' Lon- 63 De Blainville, ' Osteographie Cani- 

don, vol. viii. p. 415. dse,' p. 134. F. Cuvier, 'Annales du 

60 ' Hist. Nat. 'General,' torn. iii. p. Museum,' torn, xviii. p. 842. In regard 
44S. to mastiffs, see Col. Ham. Smith, ' Nat. 

61 W. Scrope, 'Art of Deer-Stalking,' Lib.,' vol. x. p. 218. For the Thibet mas- 
p. 854. tiff, see Mr. Hodgson in ' Journal of As. 

62 Quoted by Col. Ham. Smith in 'Na- Soc. of Bengal,' vol. i., 1832, p. 842. 
.uralist's Library,' vol. x. p. 79. 


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 consti- 
tutional differences : the pulse, says Youatt, 64 " varies materially 
according to the breed, as well as to the size of the animal." Dif- 
ferent breeds of dogs are subject in different degrees to various dis- 
eases. 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 Rev. R Everest 66 be- 
lieves 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. 66 Lloyd ° 9 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 admis- 
sion 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 remarkable that we meet with the 
statement, repeated over and over again, that the races 
of the dog differ in no important characters. A highly 
competent judge, Prof. Gervais, 70 admits, " si l'on 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 

64 'The Dog,' 1845, p. 1S6. With re- Veterinary,' London, vol. xi. p. 235. 

spect to diseases, Youatt asserts (p. 167) ** 'Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,' vol. 

that the Italian greyhound is " strongly Hi. p. 19. 

subject" to polypi in the matrix or vagi- " ' Travels,' vol. ii. p. 15. 

na. The spaniel and pug (p. 182) are 68 Hodgson, in ' Journal of As. Soc. of 

most liable to bronchocele. The liability Bengal,' vol. i. p. 342. 

to distemper (p. 232) is extremely differ- e9 ' Field Sports of the North of Eu- 

ent in different breeds On the distem- rope,' vol. ii. p. 165. 

per, see also Col. Hutchinson on 'Dog 70 ' Hist. Nat. des Mammif.,' 1855, torn: 

Breaking,' 1S50, p. 279. it. pp. 66, 67. 

•• See Youatt on the Dog, p. 15 ; ' The 

52 DOGS. Chap. I. 

are in one respect of comparatively little value, for they 
are not characteristic of distinct breeds : no one pretends 
that such is the case with the additional molar teeth or with 
the number of mammae ; the additional digit is generally 
present with mastiffs, and some of the more important dif- 
ferences in the skull and lower jaw are more or less cha- 
racteristic of various bi'eeds. But we must not forget that 
the predominant power of selection has not been applied 
in any of these cases ; we have variability in important 
parts, but the differences have not been fixed by selection. 
Man cares for the form and fleetness of his greyhounds, 
for the size of his mastiffs, for the strength of the jaw in 
his bulldogs, &c. ; but he cares nothing about the num- 
ber of their molar teeth or mammae or digits ; nor do we 
know that differences in these organs are correlated with, 
or owe their development to, differences in other parts of 
the body about which man does care. Those who have 
attended to the subject of selection will admit that, na- 
ture 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 addition- 
al pair of molar teeth in either jaw, in the same way as 
he has given additional horns to certain breeds of sheep<; 
if he wished to produce a toothless breed of dogs, having 
the so-called Turkish dog with its imperfect teeth to work 
on, he could probably do so, for he has succeeded in mak- 
ing hornless breeds of cattle and sheep. 

With respect to the precise causes and steps by which 
the several races of dogs have come to differ so greatly 
from each other, Ave are, as in most other cases, profound- 
ly ignorant. We may attribute part of the difference in 
external form and constitution to inheritance from dis- 
tinct 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 themauner in which Fochabers, in Scotland, 
was stocked " with a multitude of curs of a most wolf- 
ish aspect" from a single hybrid-wolf brought into that 

It would appear that climate to a certain extent di- 
rectly modifies the forms of dogs. We have lately seen 
that several of our English breeds cannot live in India, 
and it is positively asserted that when bred there for a 
few generations they degenerate not only in their men- 
tal faculties, but in form. Captain Williamson," who 
carefully attended to this subject, states that "hounds 
are the most rapid in their decline ;" " greyhounds and 
pointers, also, rapidly decline." But spaniels, after eight 
or nine generations, and without a cross from Europe, 
are as good as their ancestors. Dr. Falconer informs me 
that bulldogs, which have been known, when first brought 
into the country, to pin down even an elephant by its 
trunk, not only fall off after two or three generations in 
pluck and ferocity, but lose the under-hung character of 
their lower jaws ; their muzzles become finer and their 
bodies lighter. English dogs imported into India are so 
valuable that probably due care has been taken to-pre- 
vent their crossing with native dogs ; so that the de- 
terioration cannot be thus accounted for. The Rev. R. 
Everest informs me that he obtained a pair of setters, 
born in India, which perfectly resembled their Scotch 
parents : he raised several litters from them in Delhi, 
taking the most stringent precautions to prevent a cross, 
but he never succeeded, though this was only the second 
generation in India, in obtaining a single young dog like 
its parents in size or make ; their nostrils were more con- 
tracted, their noses more pointed, their size inferior, and 

. 71 ' History of Quadrupeds,' 1793, vol. T2 'Oriental Field Sports,' quoted by 

1. p. 23S. Youatt, ' The Dog,' p. 15. 

54 DOGS. Chap. I. 

their limbs more slender. This remarkable tendency to 
rapid deterioration in European dogs subjected to the 
climate of India, may perhaps partly be accounted for by 
the tendency to reversion 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 ot 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 turn- 
spit of Europe and India ; the shape of the head and the 
under-hanging jaw in the bull and pug-dog, so alike in 
this one respect and so unlike in all others. A peculiarity 
suddenly arising, and therefore in one sense deserving to 
be called a monstrosity, may, however, be increased and 
fixed by man's selection. We can hardly doubt that 
long-continued training, as with the greyhound in cours- 
ing hares, as with water-dogs in swimming — and the 
want of exercise, in the case of lap-dogs — must have pro- 
duced 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 methodi- 
cal and unconscious, of slight individual differences, — the 
latter kind of selection resulting from the occasional pre- 
servation, during hundreds of generations, of those indi- 
vidual dogs which were the most useful to man for cer- 
tain purposes and under certain conditions of life. In a 
future chapter on Selection I shall show that even bar- 
barians attend closely to the qualities of their dogs. This 
unconscious selection by man would be aided by a kind 
of natural selection ; for the dogs of savages have partly 
to gain their own subsistence ; for instance, in Australia, 
as we hear from Mr. Nind, 73 the dogs are sometimes com- 
pelled by want to leave their masters and provide for 
themselves; but in a few days they generally return. 

73 Quoted by Mr. Galton, ' Domestication of Animals,' p. 13. 


i • 

And we may infer that dogs of different shapes, sizes, 
and habits, would have the best chance of surviving un- 
der 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 turnover the stones 
on the shore to catch the wustaceans 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, according to Isidore Geoffroy, 7i 
extends to the third phalanges, whilst in ordinary dogs 
it extends only to the second. In two Newfoundland 
dogs' which I examined, when the toes were stretched 
apart and viewed on the under side, the skin extended in 
a nearly straight line between the outer margins of the 
balls of the toes ; whereas, in two terriers of distinct 
sub-breeds, the skin viewed in the same manner was 
deeply scooped out. In Canada there is a dog which is 
peculiar to the country and common there, and this has 
"half-webbed feet and is fond of the water." 76 English 
otter-hounds are said to have webbed feet ; a friend ex- 
amined for me the feet of two, in comparison with the 
feet of some harriers and bloodhounds ; he found the 
skin variable in extent in all, but more developed in the 
otter than in the other hounds. 76 As aquatic animals 
which belong to quite different orders have webbed feet, 
there can be no doubt that this structure would be ser- 

'* ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. Hi. p. 450. re See Mr. C 0. Groom-Napier on the 

' 6 Mr. Greenhow on the Canadian webbing of the hind feet of Otter-hounds 

Dog, in Loudon's 'Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' in ' Land and Water,' Oct. 13th, 1866, p. 

vol vl. 1S33, p. 511. 270. 

56 DOGS. Chap. I. 

viceable to dogs that frequent the water. We may confi- 
dently infer that no man ever selected his water-dogs by 
the exteut 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 illustration of this same process in North 
America, where, according to Sir J. Richardson, 77 all the 
Avolves, foxes, and aboriginal domestic dogs have their 
feet broader than in the corresponding species of the Old 
World, and " well calculated for running on the snow." 
Now, in these Arctic regions, the life or death of every 
animal will often depend on its success in hunting over 
the snow when softened ; and this will in part depend on 
the feet being broad ; yet they must not be so broad as 
to interfere with the activity of the animal when the 
ground is sticky, or with its power of burrowing holes 
or with other habits of life. 

As changes in domestic breeds which take place so 
slowly as not to be noticed at any period, whether due to 
the selection of individual variations or of differences re- 
sulting from crosses, are most important in understand- 
ing 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 atten- 
tion to the history of the foxhound, writing in 1829, says 
that between eighty and ninety years before " an entirely 
new foxhound was raised through the breeder's art," the 
ears of the old southern hound being reduced, the bone 
and bulk lightened, the waist increased in length, and 
the stature somewhat added to. It is believed that this 

77 'Fauna Boreali-Araericana,' 1829, 78 "The Horse in all his Vanities,* 

p. 62. &c., 1S29, pp. 230, 234. 


was effected by a cross with the greyhound. With re- 
spect to this latter dog, Youatt " who is generally cau- 
tious 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 descend- 
ants, progressively improved, of the large rough grey- 
hounds 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 grey- 
hounds, 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 

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 evi- 
dently 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- 

" 'The Dog,' 1S45, pp. 31, 35; with eo In the ' Encyclop. of Rural Sports,' 

respect to King Charles's spaniel, p. 45 ; p. 557. 
for the setter, p. 90. 

58 DOGS. Chap. L 

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 81 remarks that, if the mastiff and English bulldog 
had formerly been as distinct as they are at the pi'esent 
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 ; M but the breed 
since its introduction has been much modified, for Mr. 
Borrow, who is a sportsman and knows Spain intimately 
well, informs me that he has not seen in that country any 
breed " corresponding in figure with the English pointer ; 
but there are genuine pointers near Xeres which have 
been imported by English gentlemen." A nearly parallel 
case is offered by the Newfoundland dog, which was cer- 
tainly 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 ex- 
isting 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 

81 ' The Farrier,' 182S, vol. i. p. 337. the Esquimaux dog' and a large French 

82 See Col. Hamilton Smith on the an- hound. See Dr. Hodgkin, ' Brit Assoc.,' 
tiquity of the Pointer, in ' Naturalist's 1S44 ; Bechstein's ' Naturgesch. Deutsch- 
Library,' vol. x. p. 196. lands,' Band i. s. 574 ; ' Naturalist's 

83 The Newfoundland dog is believed Library,' vol. x. p. 132 ; also Mr. Jukes' 
to have originated from a cross between ' Excursion in and about Newfoundland.' 


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 circum- 
stances, it would tend to supplant the older and less im- 
proved strains. For instance, as soon as the old foxhound 
was improved by a cross with the greyhound, or by sim- 
ple selection, and assumed its present character — and the 
change was probably required by the increased fleetness 
of our hunters — it rapidly spread throughout the country, 
and is now everywhere nearly uniform. But the process 
of improvement is still going on, for every one tries to 
improve his strain by occasionally procuring dogs from 
the best kennels. Through this process of gradual substi- 
tution the old English hound has been lost ; and so it has 
been with the old Irish greyhound and apparently with 
the old English bulldog. But the extinction of former 
breeds is apparently aided by another cause ; for when- 
ever a breed is kept in scanty numbers, as at present with 
the bloodhound, it is reared with difficulty, and this ap- 
parently 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 
individual dogs, modified in many cases by crosses with 
other breeds ; and as we shall hereafter see that the breed- 
ing 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 

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 mon- 
umental drawings and their mummied bodies. These 
mummies, according to De Blainville, 84 who has particu- 
larly studied the subject, belong to no less than three 
species, namely, F. caligulata, bubattes, 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 de- 
scendants of several species commingled : it is certain 
that cats cross readily with various wild species, and it 
would appear that the character of the domestic breeds 
has, at least in some cases, been thus affected. Sir W. 
Jardine has no doubt that, " in the "north of Scotland, 
there has been occasional crossing with our native species 
(F. sylvestris), and that the result of these crosses has 
been kept in our houses. I have seen," he adds, " many 
cats very closely resembling the wild cat, and one or two 
that could scarcely be distinguished from it." Mr. 
Blyth 86 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 

84 De Blainville, ' Osteographie, Felis,' Sir W, Jardine is quoted from this Re- 

p. 65, on the character of F. caligulata: port. Mr. Blyth, who has especially at- 

pp. So, 89, 90, 175, on the other mum- tended to the wild and domestic cats of 

mied species. He quotes Ehrenberg on India, has given in this Report a very 

F. maniculata being mummied. interesting discussion on their origin. 

8i Asiatic Soc. of Calcutta ; Curator's e " ' Fauna Hungarte Sup.,' 1S62, s. 12. 
Report, Aug. 1S56. The passage from 


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." 
In South Africa, as Mr. E. Layard informs me, the do- 
mestic cat intermingles freely with the wild F. caffret ; 
he has seen a pair of hybrids which were quite tame and 
particularly attached to the lady who brought them up ; 
and Mr. Fry has found that these hybrids are fertile. In 
India the domestic cat, according to Mr. Blyth, has cross- 
ed with four Indian species. With respect to one of 
these species, F. cheats, an excellent observer, Sir W. 
Elliot, informs me that he once killed, near Madras, a 
wild brood, which were evidently hybrids from the do- 
mestic cat ; these young animals had a thick lynx-like 
tail and. the .broad brown bar on the inside of the fore- 
arm characteristic of F. chaus. Sir W. Elliot adds that 
he has often observed this same mark on the forearms of 
domestic cats in India. Mr. Blyth states that domestic 
cats coloured nearly like F. cheats, but not resembling 
that species in shape, abound in Bengal ; he adds, " such 
a colouration is utterly unknown in European cats, and 
the proper tabby markings (pale streaks on a black 
ground, peculiarly and symmetrically disposed) so com- 
mon in English cats, ai-e never seen in those of India." 
Dr. D. Short has assured Mr. Blyth 88 that at Hansi hy- 
brids between the common cat and F. ornata (or tor- 
quota) occur, " and that many of the domestic cats of 
that part of India were undistinguishable from the wild 
F. ornata." Azara states, but only on the authority of 
the inhabitants, that in Paraguay the cat has crossed 
with two native species. From these several cases we 
see that in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, the com- 
mon cat, which lives a freer life than most other domesti- 
cated animals, has crossed with various wild species ; 

8T Isld. Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, ' Hist. Xat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 177. 
• 8 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1S63, p. 184. 


and that in some instances the crossing has been suffi- 
ciently frequent to affect the character of the breed. 

Whether domestic cats have descended from several 
distinct species, or have only been modified by occa- 
sional crosses, their fertility, as far as is known, is unim- 
paired. The large Angora or Persian cat is the most dis- 
tinct in structure and habits of all the domestic breeds ; 
and is believed by Pallas, but on no distinct evidence, to 
be descended from the F. manul of middle Asia ; 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 chaiis. In England 
half-bred Angora cats are perfectly fertile with the com- 
mon cat; I do not know whether the half-breeds -are fer- 
tile 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 considerable amount of fluctuating variability. 
The explanation obviously is that, from their nocturnal 
and rambling habits, indiscriminate crossing cannot with- 
out much trouble be prevented. Selection cannot be 
brought into play to produce distinct breeds, or to keep 
those distinct which have been imported from foreign 
lands. On the other hand, in islands and in countries 
completely separated from each other, we meet with 
breeds more or less distinct ; and these cases are worth 
giving as showing that the scarcity of distinct races in 
the same country is not caused by a deficiency of varia- 
bility in the animal. The tailless cats of the Isle of Man 
are said to differ from common cats not only in the want 
of a tail, but in the greater length of their hind legs, in 
the size of their heads, and in habits. The Creole cat of 
Antigua, as I am informed by Mr. Nicholson, is smaller, 
and has a more elongated head, than the British cat. In 


Ceylon, as Mr. Thwaites writes to me, every one at first 
notices the different appearance of the native cat from 
the English animal ; it is of small size, with closely lying 
hairs ; its head is small, with a receding forehead ; but 
the ears are large and sharp ; altogether it has what is 
there called a "low-caste" appearance. Rengger 89 says 
that the domestic cat, which has been bred for 300 years 
in Paraguay, presents a striking difference from the Eu- 
ropean 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 Ame- 
rica, according to Roulin, 90 the introduced cat has lost 
the habit of uttering its hideous nocturnal howl. The 
Rev. W. D. Fox purchased a cat in Portsmouth, which 
he was told came from the coast of Guinea ; its skin was 
black and wrinkled, fur bluish-grey and short, its ears 
rather bare, legs long, and whole aspect peculiar. This 
" negro " cat was fertile with common cats. On the op- 
posite coast of Africa, at Mombas, Captain Owen, R.N., 01 
states that all the cats are covered with short stiff hair 
instead of fur : he gives a curious account of a cat from 
Algoa Bay, which had been kept for some time on board 
and could be identified with certainty; this animal was 
left for only eight weeks at Mombas, but during that 
short period it " underwent a complete metamorphosis, 
" having parted with its sandy-coloured fur." A cat 

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

*. 21 '2. 1554. 

80 ' Mem. presenters par divers Sa- " ' Narrative of Voyages,' vol. ii. p. 

vans: Acad. Roy. des Sciences,' torn. vi. ISO. 

64 DOMESTIC CATS. Chap, t 

from the Cape of Good Hope has been described by 
Desmarest as remarkable from a red stripe extending 
along die whole length of its back. Throughout an im- 
mense area, namely, the Malayan archipelago, Siam, Pe- 
gu, 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.' 3 In China a 
breed lias drooping ears. At Tobolsk, according to 
Gmelin, there is a red-coloured breed. In Asia, also, 
we find the well-known Angora or Persian breed. 

The domestic cat has run wild in several countries, and 
everywhere assumes, as far as can be judged by the short 
recorded descriptions a uniform character. Near Mal- 
donado, 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 

We have seen that distant countries possess distinct do- 
mestic races of the cat. The difference may be in part due 
to descent from several aboriginal species, or at least to 
crosses with them. In some cases, as in Paraguay, Mombas, 
and Antigua, the differences seem due to the direct action 
of different conditions of life. In other cases some slight 
effect may possibly be attributed to natural selection, as 
cats in many cases have largely to support themselves 
and to escape diverse dangers. But man, owing to the 
difficulty of pairing cats, has done nothing by methodi- 
cal selection ; and probably very little by unintentional 

9a J. Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet, of the p. 308. 
Indian Islands,' p. 255. The Madagas- 94 ' Zoology of the Voyage of the Bea- 

car cat is said to have a twisted tail : see gle, Mammalia,' p. 20. Dieffenbach, 

Desmarest, in ' Encyclop. Nat. Mamm.,' 'Travels in New Zealand,' vol. ii. p. 185. 

1620, p. 233, for some of the other breeds. Ch. St. John, 'Wild Sports of the High- 

M Admiral Lutke's Voyage, vol iii. lands,' 1846, p. 40. 


selection ; though in each litter he generally saves the 
prettiest, and values most a good breed of mouse or rat- 
catchers. Those cats which have a strong tendency to 
prowl after game, generally get destroyed by traps. As 
cats are so much petted, a breed bearing the same rela- 
tion to other cats, that lapdogs bear to larger dogs, would 
have been much valued ; and if selection could have been 
applied, we should certainly have had many breeds in 
each long-civilized country, for there is plenty of variabil- 
ity to work upon. 

We see in this country considerable diversity in size, 
some in the proportions of the body, and extreme variabili- 
ty in colouring. I have only lately attended to this subject, 
but have already heard of some singular cases of varia- 
tion ; 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 devel- 
oped that they protruded uncovei'ed 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 dif- 
ference, according to Daubenton, 96 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. 

96 Quoted by Isid. Geoffioy, ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 427. 

66 HORSES. Chap. II. 





The history of the Horse is lost in antiquity. Remains 
of this animal in a domesticated condition have been 
found in the Swiss lake-dwellings, belonging to the lat- 
ter part of the Stone period. 1 At the present time the 
number of breeds is great, as may be seen by consujting 
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 distinguish- 
able ; and so it is with each separate island in the great 
Malay archipelago. 3 Some of the breeds present great 
dhTerences in size, shape of ears, length of mane, pro- 

1 Rutimeyer, 'Fauna derPfahlbauten,' many different breeds, every island hav- 
1S61, s. 122. ing at least one peculiar to it." Thus in 

2 See Youatt on the Horse : J. Law- Sumatra there are at least tivo breeds ; 
rence on the Horse, 1S29 : W. C. L. Mar- in Achin and Batubara one ; in Java sev- 
tin, 'History of the Horse/ 1845 : Col. eral breeds ; one in Bali, Lomboc, Sum- 
Ham. Smith, in 'Naturalist's Library, bawa (one of the best breeds), Tambora, 
Horses,' 1S41, vol. xii. : Prof. Veith, Biroa, Gunung-api, Celebes, Sumba, and 
'Die Naturgesch. Haussaugethiere,' 1856. Philippines. Other breeds are specified 

3 Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet, of Indian by Zollinger in the ' Journal of the In- 
Islands,' 1856, p. " 153. " There are dian Archipelago,' vol. v. p. 343, &c. 


portions of the body, form of the withers and hind quar- 
ters, 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 
genus Equus. 

Of individual variations not known to characterise 
particular breeds, and not great or injurious enough to 
be called monstrosities, I have not collected many cases. 
Mr. G. Brown, of the Cirencester Agricultural College, 
who has particularly attended to the dentition of our do- 
mestic 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 niueteen 
on each side, the additional one being always the poste- 
rior rib. I have seen several notices of variations in the 
bones of the leg ; thus Mr. Price 6 speaks of an addition- 
al 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 vari- 
ous 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- 

* ' The Horse,' Ac. . by John Lawrence, 6 Proc. Veterinary Assoc. , in ' The Ve- 

1829, p. 14. terir.ary,' vol. xiii. p. 42. 

8 ' The Veterinary,' London, vol, v. p. 7 'Bulletin de la Soc. Geolog.,' torn. 

643. • xxii., 1866, p. 22. 

68 HORSES. ' Chap. II. 

quarters of an inch in length." Azara has described 
two cases in South' America in which the projections 
were between three and four inches in length : other in- 
stances have occurred in Spain. 

That there has been much inherited variation in the 
horse cannot be doubted, when we reflect on the number 
of the breeds existing throughout the world, or even 
within the same country, and when we know that they 
have largely increased in number since the earliest 
known records. 9 Even in so fleeting a character as co- 
lour, Hofacker 10 found that, out of two hundred and six- 
teen cases in which horses of the same colour were paired, 
only eleven pairs produced foals of a quite different co- 
lour. As Professor Low " 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 He- 
rod" 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 18 when crossed, nat- 
uralists 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 descend- 
ed from no less than five primitive and differently colour- 
ed stocks. 13 But as several species and varieties of the 

8 Mr. Percival, of the Enniskillen Dra- strongest terms on the inheritance by 

goons, in ' The Veterinary,' vol. i. p. 224 : the horse of all good and bad tendencies 

see Azara, ' Des Quadrupedes du Para- and qualities. Perhaps the principle of 

guay,' torn. ii. p. 313. The French trans- inheritance is not really stronger in the 

latorof Azara refers to other cases men- horse than in any other animal; but, 

tioned by Huzard as occurring in Spain. from its value, the tendency has been 

Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 37S. more carefully observed. 

10 ' Ueber. die Eigenschafter.,' &c, 12 Andrew Knight crossed breeds so 
1S28, s. 10. different in size as a dray-horse and Nor- 

11 ' Domesticated Animals of the Brit- wegian pony ; see A. Walker on ' Inter- 
ish Islands,' pp. 527, 532. In all the ve- marriage,' 1838, p. 205. 

terinary treatises and papers which I 13 ' Naturalist's Library,' Horses, vol. 

have read, the writers insist in the xii. p. 208. 


horse existed " during the later tertiary periods, and as 
Rutimeyer 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 descend- 
ed from several species or natural races, these apparently 
have all become extinct in the wild state. With our 
present knowledge, the common view that all have de- 
scended 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 considerable direct effect. Mr. D. Forbes, who 
has had excellent opportunities of comparing the horses 
of Spain with those of South America, informs me that 
the horses of Chile, which have lived under nearly the 
same conditions as their progenitors in Andalusia, remain 
unaltered, whilst the Pampas horses and the Puno ponies 
are considerably modified. There can be no doubt that 
horses become greatly reduced in size and altered in ap- 
pearance by living on mountains and islands; and this 
apparently is due to want of nutritious or varied food. 
Every one knows how small and rugged the ponies are on 
the Northern islands and on the mountains of Europe. 
Corsica and Sardinia have their native ponies ; and there 

14 Gervais, 'Hist. Nat. Mamm.,' torn. 1S45, p. 34), in arguing against the belief 
ii. p. 143. Owen, ' British Fossil Mam- that the wild Eastern horses are merely 
mals,' p. 3S3. feral, has remarked on the improbability 

15 ' Kenntniss der fossilen Pferde,' of man in ancient times having extirpated 
ISO, s. 131. a species in a region where it can now 

ls Mr. W. C L. Martin ('The Horse,' exist in numbers. 

70 HOESES. Chap. II. 

were, 17 or still are, on some islands on the coast of Virgi- 
nia, ponies like those of the Shetland Islands, which are 
believed to have originated through exposure to unfa- 
vourable conditions. The Puno ponies, which inhabit the 
lofty regions of the Cordillera, are, as I hear from Mr. D. 
Forbes, strange little creatures, very unlike their Spanish 
progenitors. Further south, in the Falkland Islands, the 
offspring of the horses imported in 1764 have already so 
much deteriorated in size 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 sev- 
eral 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 in- 
tense cold, for wild troops live on the plains of Siberia 
under lat. 56°, 19 and aboriginally the horse must have in- 
habited countries annually covered with snow, for he long 
retains the instinct of scraping it away to get at the herb- 
age beneath. The wild tarpans in the East have this in- 
stinct ; 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 

17 'Transact. Maryland Academy,' 19 Pallas, 'Act. Acad. St. Peters- 
vol. i. part i. p. 28. burgh,' 1777, part ii. p. 265. With *re- 

18 Mr. Mackinnon on ' The Falkland spect to the tarpans scraping away the 
Islands,' p. 25. The average height of snow, see Col. Hamilton Smith in ' Nat. 
the Falkland horses is said to be 14 Lib.,' vol. xii. p. 165. 

hands 2 inches. See also my ' Journal of 20 Franklin's 'Narrative,' vol. i. p. 

Researches.' 87; note by Sir J. Richardson. 


The horse can flourish under intense heat as well as 
under intense cold, for he is known to come to the high- 
est perfection, though not attaining adargc size, in Arabia 
and northern Africa. Much humidity is apparently more 
injurious to the horse than heat or cold. Iir the Falk- 
land 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 Ben- 
gal," 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 se- 
lection of individual differences. No doubt semi-mon- 
strous breeds might have been formed ; thus Mr. Water- 
ton records 23 the case of a mare which produced succes- 
sively three foals without tails ; so that a tailless race 
might have been formed like the tailless races of dogs and 
cats. A Russian breed of horses is said to have frizzled 
hair, and Azara 24 relates that in Paraguay horses are oc- 
casionally 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, 

21 Mr. J. H. Moor, ' Notices of the In- " J. Crawford, ' History of the Horse ;' 

dian Archipelago:' Singapore, 1837, p. 'Journal of Royal United Service Institu- 

189. A pony from Java was sent ('Athe- tion,' vol. iv. 

nieuro,' 1S42, p. 71S) to the Queen only 23 'Essays on Natural History,' 2nd 

28 iDches in height. For the Loo Choo series, p. 161. 

Islands, see Beechey's ' Voyage,' 4th edit. 24 ' Quadrupedes du Paraguay,' torn, 

vol. i. p. 499. ii. p. 333. 


Chap. II. 

and their hoofs are of a peculiar shape like those of a 

It is scarcely possible to doubt that the long-continued 
selection of qualities serviceable to man has been the 
chief agent in the formation of the several breeds of the 
horse. Look at a dray-horse, and see how well adapted 
he is to draw heavy weights, and how.unlike in appear- 
ance to any allied wild animal. The English race-horse 
is known to have proceeded from the commingled 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 well, asks, who now, "looking at 
our present breed of race-horses, could have conceived that 
they were the result of the union of the Arab horse and 
African mare ? " The improvement is so marked that in 
running for the Goodwood Cup " the first descendants of 
Arabian, Turkish, and Persian horses, are allowed a dis- 
count of 18 lbs. weight; and when both parents are of 
these countries a discount of 3(3 lbs." It is notorious 
that the Arabs have long been as careful about the pedi- 
gree 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 
kejtt for breeding, and of horses imported at high prices 
from various countries. 20 We may therefore conclude 

26 Prof. Low, ' Domesticated Animals,' with thoroughbred racer*" Some few 

p. 546. With respect to the writer in In- instances are on record of seven-eighths 

dia, see ' India Sporting Review,' vol. ii. racers having been successful. 

p. 181. As Lawrence has remarked 26 Prof. Gervais (in his ' Hist. Nat. 

(' The Horse,' p. 9), " perhaps no in- Mamm.,' torn. ii. p. 144) has collected 

stance has ever occurred of a three-part many facts on this head. For instance, 

bred horse (i.e. a horse, one of whose Solomon (Kings, b. i. ch. x. v. 2S) bought 

grand-parents was of impure blood) sav- horses in Egypt at a high price, 
ing his distance in running two miles 


that, whether or not the various existing breeds of the 
horse have proceeded from one or more aboriginal stocks, 
yet that a* great amount of change has resulted from the 
direct action of the conditions of life, and probably a still 
greater amount from the long-continued selection by man 
of slight individual differences. 

With several domesticated quadrupeds and birds, cer- 
tain 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 colouring of horses. All English 
breeds, however unlike in size and appearance, and sev- 
eral of those in India and the Malay archipelago, present 
a similar range and diversity of colour. The English 
race-horse, however, is said 2T 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 sucft widely 
different kinds as dray-horses, cobs, and ponies, are all 
occasionally dappled, 29 in the same manner as is so con- 
spicuous with grey horses. This fact does not throw 
any clear light on the colouring of the aboriginal horse, 
but is a case of analogous variation,, for even asses are 
sometimes dappled, and I have seen, in the British 
Museum, a hybrid from the ass and zebra dappled 
on its hinder quarters. By the expression analogous 
variation (and it is one that I shall often have occasion 
to use) I mean a variation occurring in a species or vari- 
ety which resembles a normal character in another and 

27 'The Field,' July 13th, 1S61, p. 42. been stated (Martin, 'History of the 

28 E. Vernon Harcourt, ' Sporting in Horse,' p. 134) that duns are never dap- 
Algeria,' p. 26. pled. Martin (p. 205) refers to dap- 

29 I state this from my own observa- pled asses. In ' The Farrier' (London, 
tions made during several years on the 1828, pp. 453, 455) there are. some good 
colours of horses. I have seen cream-co- remarks on the dappling of horses ; and 
loured, light-dun and mouse-dun horses likewise in Col. Hamilton Smith on ' The 
dappled, which I mention because it has Horse.' 


74 HOESES. Chap. II. 

distinct species or variety. Analogous variations may- 
arise, as will be explained in a future chapter, from two 
or more forms with a similar constitution having been 
exjiosed 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 oc- 
casionally 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 ex- 
tending 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 repre- 
senting a stripe. Before entering on any details I must premise that 
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 beheve, 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. 

30 Some details are given in ' The Far- A small Indian chesnut pony had the 

rier,' 1828, pp. 452, 455. One of the least same stripe, as had a remarkably heavy 

ponies I ever saw, of the colour of a chesnut cart-horse. Race-horses often 

mouse, had a conspicuous spinal stripe. have the spinal stripe. 


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

Of these four stripes the posterior one was very minute and faint ; 
the anterior one, on the other hand, was long and broad, but in- 
terrupted in the middle, and truncated at its lower extremity, with 
the anterior angle produced into a long tapering point. I mention 
this latter fact because the shoulder-stripe of the ass occasionally 
presents exactly the same appearance. I have had an outline and 
description sent to me of a small, purely-bred, light fallow-dun 
Welch pony, with a spinal stripe, a single transverse stripe on each 
leg, and three shoulder-stripes ; the posterior stripe corresponding 
with that on the shoulder of the ass was the longest, whilst the 
two anterior parallel stripes, arising from the mane, decreased in 
length, in a reversed manner as compared with the shoulder stripes 
on the above-described Devonshire pony. I have seen a bright 
fallow-dun, 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 conspi- 
cuous : 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- 
etripes, 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 

76 IIOKSES. Chap. II. 

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 ultimately turned out brown ; but when only a fort- 
night 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 be- 
came 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 exhibit- 
ed 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 

31 I have received information, through ponies. See, also, 'The Field,' 1S61, p. 

the kindness of the Consul-General, Mr. 431. 

J: R. Crowe, from Prof. Boeck, Rasck, and 32 Col. Ham. Smith, 'Nat. Lib.,' vol. 

Esraarck, on the colours of the Norwegian xii. p. 275. their colours and stripes. 77 

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 sev- 
eral 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 pre- 
vail ; and these are so generally striped, that ahorse 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 ; tins 
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 Katty wars 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 in- 
formed by Mr. Blyth, have spinal, leg, and shoulder stripes. Sir 
W. Elliot informs me that he saw two bay Pegu ponies with leg- 
stripes. Burmese and Javanese ponies are frequently dun-coloured, 
and have the three kinds of stripes, " in the same degree as in Eng- 
land." 33 Mr. Swinhoe informs me that he examined two light-dun 
ponies of two Chinese breeds, viz. those of Shanghai and Arnoy ; 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 Reversion, 

33 Mr. G. Clark, in ' Annal and Mag. of horse with spinal and leg stripes. 

Nat. History, ' 2nd series, vol. ii., 1848, p. 34 See, also, on this point, ' The Field,' 

863. Mr. Wallace informs me that he July 27th, 1SG1, p. 91. 
saw in Java a dun and clay-coloured 

78 . . HORSES. Chap. II. 

I have endeavoured, but with poor success, to discover whether duns, 
which are so much oftener striped than other coloured horses, are 
ever produced from the crossing of two horses, neither of which are 
duns. Most persons to whom I have applied believe that one parent 
must be a 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 3S gives 
two instances of mouse-duns (Mausrapp) being produced from two 
parents of different colours and neither dims. 

I have also endeavoured with httle 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 generally 
plainest in the foal, and tend to disappear in old age. 

The stripes are variable in colour, but are always dark- 
er than the rest of the body. They do not by any means 
always coexist on the different parts of the body: the 
legs may be striped without any shoulder-stripe, or the 
converse case, which is rarer, may occur; but I have 
never heard of either shonlder 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 character- 

's 'The Field,' 1861, pp. 431, 493, 645. 

3« ' Ueber die Eigenschaften,' &c, 1828, s. 13, 14. 


ises the other seven or eight species of the genus. It is 
remarkable that so trifling a character as the shoulder- 
stripe being double or triple should occur in such different 
breeds as Welch and Devonshire ponies, the Shan pony, 
heavy cart-horses, light South American horses, and the 
lanky Kattywar breed. Colonel Hamilton Smith be- 
lieves that one of his five supposed primitive stocks was 
dun-coloured and striped ; and that the stripes in all the 
other breeds result from ancient crosses with this one 
primitive dun ; but it is extremely improbable that differ- 
ent 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 

"With respect to the primitive colour of the horse hav- 
ing been dun, Colonel Hamilton Smith 3T has collected a 
large body of evidence showing that this tint was com- 
mon in the East as far back as the time of Alexander, 
and that the wild horses of Western Asia and Eastern 
Europe now are, or* recently were, of various shades of 
dun. It seems that not very long ago a wild breed of 
dun-coloured horses with a spinal stripe was preserved in 
the royal parks in Prussia. I hear from Hungary that 
the inhabitants of that country look at the duns with a 
spinal stripe as the aboriginal stock, and so it is in Nor- 
way. Dun-coloured ponies are not rare in the mountain- 
ous parts of Devonshire, 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 

37 ' 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, who 

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

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

80 HORSES. Chap. II. 

100 horses were." bai-chatains," and the remaining ten 
were " zains," and not more than one in 2000 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 be- 
come 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 Mvia, 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 certainly wild horse is known as 
a standard of comparison ; because trhe 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 

38 Azara, ' Quadrupedes du Paraguay,* describes two wild horses from Mexico 

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

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

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

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

Spanish horses of Mexico, as of all col- These several facts show that horses do 

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

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

Chap. II. ASSES. 81 

appearance, especially in duns, of leg-stripes and of double 
or triple shoulder-stripes, taken together, indicate the 
probability of the descent of all the existing races from a 
single, dun-coloured, more or less striped, primitive stock, 
to which our horses still occasionally revert. 

The Ass. 

Four species of Asses, besides three of zebras, have been 
desci-ibed by naturalists ; but there can now be little 
doubt that our domesticated animal is descended from 
one alone, namely, the As inns tee niopas of Abyssinia. 3 * 
The Ass is sometimes advanced as an instance of an ani- 
mal 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 fh - st, a light and 
graceful animal, with an agreeable gait, used by ladies ; 
secondly, an Arab breed reserved exclusively for the sad- 
dle ; thirdly, a stouter animal used for ploughing and va- 
rious purposes ; and lastly, the lai'ge 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 dis- 
tinct 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 cha- 
racters 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 

•» Dr. Sclater, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 40 W. C. Martin, 'History of the 

1862, p. 164. Horse,' 1S45, p. 207. 

82 ASSES. • Chap. II. 

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 ac- 
counted for, through the principle of reversion, by the 
supposition that the primitive horse was thus striped ; 
with the ass we may confidently advance this explanation, 
for the parent-form, the A. tazniopus, 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 shoul- 
der-stripe was only six inches in length, and as thin as a 
piece of string; and in other animal of the same colour 
there was only a dusky shade representing a stripe. I 
have heai'd 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 ba^-shade. Hence we may 

41 Col. Sykes' Cat. of Mammalia, Nat Hist.,' vol. iv., 1840, p. 88., I have 

' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' July 12th, 1S31. also been assured by a breeder that this 

Williamson, ' Oriental Field Sports,' vol, is the case, 

ii., quoted by Martin, p. 206. 43 One case is given by Martin, ' The 

43 Blyth, in ' Charlesworth's Mag. of Horse,' p. 205. 


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 pro- 
duced 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 
sometimes forked. "When I first noticed the forking and 
angular bending of the shoulder-stripe, I had seen enough 
of the stripes in the various equine species to feel con- 
vinced 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 Asinns 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 shoul- ' 
ders apparently stand in relation with the changed direc- 
tion of the nearly upright stripes on the sides of the body 
and neck to the transverse 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 oc- 
currence of double and triple shoulder-stripes in both ani- 
mals, and the similar manner in which these stripes termi- 
nate at their lower extremities, — are all cases of analogous 

44 ' Journal As. Soc. of Bengal,' vol. xxviii. 1860, p. 231. Martin on the Horse, 
p. 205. 

84 ASSES. Chap. IL 

variation in the horse and ass. These cases are probably 
not due to similar conditions acting on similar constitu- 
tions, hut 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 Hermann von Nathusius in two 
admirable works, especially in the later one on the Skulls 
of the several races, and by Riitimeyer 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 re- 

1 Hermann von Nathusius, ' Die Racen schadel,' Berlin, 1864. Riitimeyer, ' Die 
des Schweines, 'Berlin, I860; and l Vor- Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' Basel, 1S61. 
etudien fur Geschichte,' &c, ' Schweine- 


spects 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 con- 
stant osteological characters ; its wild parent-form iS 
unknown; the name given to it by Nathusius, accord- 
ing to the law of priority, is Sus Indica of Pallas. This 
name must now be followed, though an unfortunate one, 
as the wild aboriginal does not inhabit India, and the best- 
known domesticated breeds have been imported from Siam 
and China. 

Firstly, the Sus scrofa breeds, or those resembling the 
common wild boar. These still exist, according to N"a- 
thusius (Schweineschadel, s. 75), in various parts of cen- 
tral and northern Europe ; formerly every kingdom, 2 and 
almost every province in Britain, possessed its own na- 
tive breed ; but these are now everywhere rapidly disap- 
pearing, being replaced by improved breeds crossed with 
the S. Indica 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 (Schweine- 
schadel, s. 63-68) higher and broader relatively to its 
length; and the hinder part is more upright. The dif- 
ferences, 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 

The wild Sus scrofa has a wide range, namely, Europe, 
North Africa, as identified by osteological characters by 
Rutimeyer, and Hindostan, as similarly identified by Na- 
thusius. But the wild boars inhabiting these several coun- 
tries differ so much from each other in external characters, 
that they have been ranked by some naturalists as speci- 

2 Natbusius,'DieRacendesSchweines,' trustworthy drawings of the breeds of 
Berlin, 1S60. An excellent appendix is each country, 
given with references to published and 

Chap. hi. THEIR PARENTAGE. 87 

fically distinct. Even within Hindostan these animals, 
according to Mr. Blyth, form very distinct races in the 
different districts ; in the N. Western provinces, as I am 
informed by the Rev. R. Everest, the boar never exceeds 
36 inches in height, whilst in Bengal one has been mea- 
sured 44 inches in height. In Europe, Northern Africa, 
and Hindostan, domestic pigs have been known to cross 
with the wild native species ; 3 and in Hindostan an ac- 
curate observer, 4 Sir Walter Elliot, after describing the 
differences between wild Indian and wild German boars, 
remarks that " the same differences are perceptible in the 
domesticated individuals of the two countries." We may 
therefore conclude that the breeds of the Sus scrofa type 
have either descended from, or been modified by cross- 
ing with, forms which may be ranked as geographical 
races, but which are, according to some naturalists, dis- 
tinct species. 

Pigs of the Sus Indica type are best known to Eng- 
lishmen under the form of the Chinese breed. The skull 
of S. Indica, as described by Nathusius, differs from that 
of S. scrofa in several minor respects, as in its greater 
breadth and in some details in the teeth ; but chiefly in 
the shortness of the lachrymal bones, in the greater width 
of the fore part of the palate-bones, and in the divergence 
of the premolar teeth. It deserves especial notice that 
these latter characters are not gained, even in the least 
degree, by the domesticated forms of S. scrofa. After 
reading the remarks and descriptions given by N.athu- 
sius, it seems to me to be merely playing with words to 
doubt whether S. Indica ought to be ranked as a spe- 
cies ; for the above-specified differences are more strongly 

3 For Europe, see Becbstein, ' Natur- de la Soc. d'Acclimat.,' torn. iv. p. 8S9. 

gesch. Deutschlands,' 1801, b. i., 8. 505. For India, see Nathusius, ' Schweine- 

Several accounts have been published schadel,' s. 148. 

on the fertility of the offspring from 4 Sir W. Elliot, Catalogue of Mamma- 
wild and tame swine. See Burdach's lia, ' Madras Journal of Lit. and Sci- 
' Physiology,' and Godron, ' De l'Es- ence,' vol. x. p. 219. 
pece,' torn. i. p. 3T0. For Africa, ' Bull. 


marked than any that can be pointed out between, for 
instance, the fox and the wolf, or the ass and the horse. 
As already stated, S. Inclica is not known in a wild state ; 
but its domesticated forms, according to Nathusius, come 
near to S. vittatus of Java and some allied species. A 
pig found wild in the Aru islands (Schweineschadel, s. 
169) is apparently identical with S. Inclica; but it is 
doubtful whether this is a truly native animal. The do- 
mesticated breeds of China, Cochin-China, and Siam be- 
long to this type. The Roman or Neapolitan breed, the 
Andalusian, the Hungarian, and the " Krause " swine of 
Nathusius, inhabiting south-eastern Europe and Turkey, 
and having fine curly hair, and the small Swiss " Biindt- 
nerschwein " of Riitimeyer, all agree in their more impor- 
tant skull characters with S. Indica, and, as is supposed, 
have all been largely crossed with this form. Pigs of 
this type have existed during a long period on the shores 
of the Mediterranean, for a figure (Schweineschadel, s. 
142) closely resembling the existing Neapolitan pig has 
been found in the buried city of Herculaneum. 

Riitimeyer has made the remarkable discovery that 
there lived contemporaneously in Switzerland, during the 
later Stone or Neolithic period, two domesticated forms, 
the S. scrofa, and the S. scrofa palustris or Torfschwein. 
Riitimeyer perceived that the latter approached the East- 
ern breeds, and, according to Nathusius, it certainly be- 
longs to the S. Indica group ; but Riitimeyer has subse- 
quently shown that it differs in some well-marked cha- 
racters. 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. 6 Nathusius, whilst he 
fully admits the curious fact first observed by Riiti- 
meyer, that the bones of domesticated and wild animals 
can be distinguished by their different aspect, yet, from 

6 ' Pfahlbauten,' s. 163 et passim. 


special difficulties in the case of the bones of the pig 
(Schweineschadel, s. 147), is not convinced of the truth 
of this conclusion ; and Riitimeyer 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, 8 and as closely allied forms still 
exist in Hungary and on the shores of the Mediterra- 
nean, one is led to suspect that the wild S. Indica for- 
merly ranged from Europe to China, in the same manner 
as S. scrofa now ranges from Europe to Hindostan. Or, 
as Riitimeyer apparently suspects, a third allied species 
may fonnerly 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 co- 
lour, &c, come under the S. Indica type. IsTor is this 
surprising, considering how ancient the domestication 
of this form has been both in Europe and in China. In 
this latter country the date is believed by an eminent 
Chinese scholar 7 to go back at least 4900 years from the 
present time. This same scholar alludes to the existence 
of many local varieties of the pig in China ; and at the 
present time the Chinese take extraordinary pains in feed- 
ing 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 high value in the improvement of our Euro- 
pean breeds. Nathusius makes a remarkable statement 
(Schweineschadel, s. 138), that the infusion of the ^nd, 
or even of the ^th, part of the blood of S. Indica into a 
breed of S. scrofa, is sufficient plainly to modify the skull 
of the latter species. This singular fact may perhaps be 

'See Rutimeyer's Neue Beitrage, .... Tille, ' Osteograpbie, p. 1C3. 
Torfschweine, Yerta. Naturfor. Gesell. in 8 Richardson, ' Pigs, their Origin,' Ac, 

Basel, iv. i., 1865, s. 139. p. 26. 

1 Stan. Julien, quoted by De Blain- 9 ' Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 47, 64. 



Chap. IIL 

accounted for by several of the chief distinctive charac- 
ters of S. Jndica, such as the shortness of the lachrymal 
bones, etc., 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 (S. pliciceps of Gray), which has been 
recently exhibited in the Zoological Gardens, has an ex- 
traordinary appearance from its short head, broad fore- 
and nose, great fleshy ears, and deejjly furrowed skin. 
The following woodcut is copied from that given by Mr. 

Fig. 2. — Head of Japan or Masked Pig. (Copied from Mr. Bartlett's paper in Proc. 
Zoolog. Soc, 1S61, p. 263.) 

Bartlett. 10 Not only is the face furrowed, but thick folds 

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


of skin, which are harder than the other parts, almost 
like the plates on the Indian rhinoceros, hang about the 
shoulders and rump. It is coloured black, with white 
feet, and breeds true. That it has long been domesticated 
there can be little doubt ; and this might have been in- 
ferred even from the fact that its young are not longitu- 
dinally striped ; for this is a character common to all the 
species included within the genus Sus and the allied gen- 
era whilst in their natural state. 11 Dr. Gray 12 has de- 
scribed the skull of this animal, which he ranks not only 
as a distinct species, but places it in a distinct section of 
the genus. Xathusius, however, after his careful study 
of the whole group, states positively (Schweineschadel, s. 
153-1 5 S) that the skull in all essential characters closely 
resembles that of the short-eared Chinese breed of the S. 
Indica type. Hence Nathusius considers the Japan pig 
as only a domesticated variety of 8. Indica : 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 Pa- 
cific Ocean a singular breed of pigs. These are described 
by the Rev. D. Tyerman and G. Bennett 13 as of small size, 
hump-backed, with a disproportionately long head, with 
short ears turned backwards, with a bushy tail not more 
than two inches in length, placed as if it grew from the 
back. "Within half a century after the introduction 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 fa- 
vourable 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 

11 Sclater, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' Feb. 1S 'Journal of Voyages and Travels 

20th, 1861. from 1S21 to 1S29,' vol. i. p. 300. 

14 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soe.,' 1S62, p. 13. 


appearance altogether different from the hogs brought 
from the south." 14 

Seeing how different the Chinese pigs belonging to the 
Siis Indica type, are in their osteological characters and 
in external appearance from the pigs of the S. scrofa type, 
so that they must be considered specifically distinct, it 
is a fact well deserving attention, that Chinese and com- 
mon 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 agri- 
culturists. 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 cul- 
tivated 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, in- 
stead of sloping backwards, is directed forwards, entail- 
ing many changes in other parts ; the front of the head 
is deeply concave ; the orbits have a different shape; the 
auditory meatus has a different direction and shape ; the 
incisors of the upper and lower jaws do not touch each 
other, and they stand in both jaws 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 shap'e, that, as Nathusius remarks (s. 

14 Rev. G. Low, ' Fauna Orcadensis,' p. 10. See also Dr. Hibbert's 'account of the 
pig of the Shetland Islands. 

Chap. III. 



133), no natflralist, 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 injuri- 
ous, 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 
asl toll. 15 The fol- 
lowing woodcut 16 of 
the head of a wild 
boar and of a sow 
from a photograph 
of the Yorkshire 
Large Breed, may 
aid in showing how 
greatly the head in 
a highly cultivated 
race has been modi- 
fied and shortened. 
Nathusius has 

Head of Wi.d Boar, and of "Golden Days," Well disCUSSed the 

a pig of the Yorkshire Large Breed ; the latter causes of the l*e- 

from a photograph. (Copied from Sidney's edit, i 1 1„ changes 

of ' The Pig,' by Vouatt.) mal ka0le cuau e& 

Fig. 3 

15 ' Bie Racen des Schweines,' s. TO. 
18 These woodcuts are copied from en- 
gravings given in Mr. S. Sidney's excel- 

lent edition of ' The Pig,' by Youatt. See 
pp. 1, 16, 19. 


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

17 'Schweineschadel,' s. 74, 135. 

is Nathusius, ' Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 71. 


related, so that any change in the one tends to affect the 

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 charac- 
teristic of any one race, but is common to all when im- 
proved 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 fit ; 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 genera- 
tions has apparently affected the length of the intestines ; 
for, according to Cuvier, 20 their length to that of the body 
in the wild boar is as 9 to 1, — in the common domestic 
boar as 13*5 to 1, — and in the Siam breed as 16 to 1. In 
this latter breed the greater length may be due either to 
descent from a distinct species or to more ancient domes- 
tication. The number of mamma? vary, as does the pe- 
riod of gestation. The latest authority says 21 that " the 
period averages from 17 to 20 weeks," but I think there 
must be some error in this statement : in M. Tessier's 
observations on 25 sows it varied from 109 to 123 days. 
The Rev. W. D. Fox has given me ten carefully recorded 
cases with well-bred pigs, in which the period varied from 
101 to 116 days. According to Nathusius the period is 

19 'Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 47. 'The Pig,' 1S47. 

' Schweineschadel,' s. 104. Compare, 20 Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy, ' ITlst. 

also, the figures of the old Irisd and the Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 441. 

improved Irish breeds in Richardson on 21 S. Sidney, ' The Pig,' p. 61. 



Chap. Ill 

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," than in the case of 
common swine, which arrive at maturity at a later age. 
In the highly cultivated and early matui-ed 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 S. 
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 Cu- 




Boar, from 


Dorsal vertebrae.. 


Dorsal and lum- } 
bar together .. ) 














Total number) 
of vertebrae .. f 






Some semi-monstrous breeds deserve notice. From the 
time of Aristotle to the present time solid-hoofed swine 
have occasionally been observed in various parts of the 
world. Although this peculiarity is strongly inherited, 

22 'Schweineschadel,' s. 2,20. 

23 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1837, p. 23. 
I have not given the caudal vertebrae, 
as Mr. Eyton says some might possibly 
have been lost. I have added together 
the dorsal and lumbar vertebra?, owing 
to Prof. Owen's remarks (' Journal Linn. 

Soc.,' vol. ii. p. 28) on the difference 
between dorsal and lumbar vertebra 
depending only on the development ol 
the ribs. Nevertheless the difference in 
the number of the ribs in pigs deserves 


it is hardly probable that all the animals with solid hoofs 
have descended from the same parents ; it is more proba- 
ble that the same peculiarity has reappeared at various 
times and places. Dr. Struthers has lately described and 
figured " the structure of the feet ; in both front and hind 
feet the distal phalanges of the two greater toes are re- 
presented by a single, great, hoof-bearing phalanx ; and 
in the front feet, the middle phalanges are represented by 
a bone which is single towards the lower end, but bears 
two separate articulations towards the upper end. From 
other accounts it appears that an intermediate toe is 
likewise sometimes superadded. 

Another curious anomaly is offered by the appendages, 
described by M. Eudes-Deslongchamps as often character- 
izing 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 

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

34 'Edinburgh N'ewPhilosoph. Journal.' teographie,' p. 12S, for various authorities 
April, 1S63. See also De Blainville's ' Os- on this subject. 


small longitudinal muscles ; they occur either symmetri- 
cally on both sides of the face or on one side alone. 
Richardson figures them on the gaunt old "Irish Grey- 
hound pig ;" and ISTathusius states that they occasionally 
appear in all the long-eared races, but are not strictly in- 
herited, for they occur or fail in animals of the same lit- 
ter. 25 As no wild pigs are known to have analogous ap- 
pendages, 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 somewhat complex, though 
apparently useless, structures may be suddenly developed 
without the aid of selection. This case perhaps throws 
some 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 domesti- 
cated 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 dogs (other analogous 
facts will be hereafter given), may we not venture to 
surmise that the reduction of the tusks in the domestic 
boar is related to his coat of bristles being diminished 
from living under shelter? On the other hand, as we 
shall immediately see, the tusks and bristles reappear 
with feral boars, which are no longer protected from the 
weather. It is not surprising that the tusks should be 
more affected than the other teeth ; as parts developed 
to serve as secondary sexual characters are always liable 
to much variation. 

It is a well-known fact that the young of wild Euro- 

s' Eudes-Deslonjrehamps, ' Memoire3 gin, *c.,' 1S47, p. 30. Nathusiug, ' Die 
de la Soc. Linn, de Normandie,' vol. vii., Kacen des Schweines,' 1860, s. 54. 
1S42, p. 41. Richardson, ' Pigs, their Ori- 


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

The common belief that all domesticated animals, when 
they ruu wild, revert completely to the character of their 
parent-stock, is chiefly founded, as far as I can discover, 
on feral pigs. But eveu in this case the belief is not 

84 D. Johnson's ' Sketches of Indian feral boars is by P. Labat (quoted by 
Field Sports,' p. 272. Mr. Crawfurd Roulin) ; but this author attributes the 
informs me that the same fact holds state of these pigs to descent from a do- 
good with the wild pigs of the Malay mestic stock which he saw in Spain, 
peninsula. Admiral Sulivan, R.N., had ample op- 

27 For Turkish pigs, see Desmarest, portunities of observing the wild pigs 

' Mammalogie,' 1820, p. 391. For those on Eagle Islet in the Falklands ; and he 

of Westphalia, see Richardson's ' Pigs, informs me that they resembled wild 

their Origin,' &c, 1S47, p. 41. boars with bristly ridged backs and large 

38 With respect to the several fore- tusks. The pigs which have run wild 
going and following statements on feral in the province of Buenos Ayres (Reng- 
pigs, see Roulin, in 'Mem. presentes par ger, 'Saugethiere,' s. 331) have not re- 
divers Savans a l'Acad.,' &c, Paris, torn, verted to the wild type. De Blainville 
vi., 1S35, p. 326. It should be observed (' Osteographie,' p. 132) refers to two 
that his account does not apply to truly skulls of domestic pigs sent from Pata- 
feral pigs ; but to pigs long introduced gonia by Al. d'Orbigny, and he states 
into the country and living in a half- that they have the occipital elevation of 
wild state. For the truly feral pigs of the wild European boar, but that the 
Jamaica, see Gosse's ' Sojourn in Ja- head altogether is " plus courte et plus 
maica,' 1S51, p. 3S6 ; and Col. Hamilton ramassee." He refers, also, to the skin 
Smith, in 'Nat. Library,' vol. ix. p. 93. of a feral pig from North America, and 
With respect to Africa, see Livingstone's says, " il ressemble tout a fait a un petit 
'Expedition to the Zambesi,' 1865, p. sanglier, mais il est presque tout noir, et 
153. The most precise statement with peut-fitre un peu plus ramasse dans ses 
respect to the tusks of the West Indian formes." 

100 DOMESTIC PIGS. Chap. in. 

gi-ounded on sufficient evidence ; for the two main types 
of 8. scrofa and Indica have never been distinguished in 
a feral state. The young, as we have just seen, reac- 
quire 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 reas- 
sume their original bristly covering, but in different 
degrees, dependent on the climate ; thus, according to 
Roulin, the semi-feral pigs in the hot valleys of New 
Granada are very scantily clothed; whereas, on the Pa- 
ramos, at the height of 7000 to 8000 feet, they acquire a 
thick covering of wool lying under the bristles, like that 
on the truly wild pigs of France. These pigs on the 
Paramos are small and stunted. The wild boar of India 
is said to have the bristles at the end of its tail arranged 
like the plumes of an arrow, whilst the European boar 
has a simple tuft ; and it is a curious fact that many, but 
not all, of the feral pigs in Jamaica, derived from a Span- 
ish stock, have a plumed tail. 29 With respect to colour, 
feral pigs generally revert to that of the wild boar ; but 
in certain parts of S. America, as we have seen, some of 
the semi-feral pigs have a curious white band across their 
stomachs ; and in certain other hot places the pigs are 
red, and this colour has likewise occasionally been ob- 
served 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 ten- 

s' Gosse's ' Jamaica,' p. 386, with a Smith, in ' Naturalist's Library,' toL 
quotation from Williamson's ' Oriental ix. p. 94. 
Field Sports.' Also Col. Hamilton 


dency 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 like- 
wise, 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 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. Natural- 
ists 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 Indiana has been 
given ; and the common non-humped cattle, generally in- 
cluded under the name of Bos taurus. The humped cattle 
were domesticated, as may be seen on the Egyptian monu- 
ments, at least as early as the twelfth dynasty, that is 
2100 b.c. They differ from common cattle in various 

so S. Sidney's edition of ' Youatt on the Pig,' 1860, pp. 7, 26, 27, 29, ! 
•i ' Schweineschadel,' s. 140. 

102 CATTLE. Chap. m. 

osteological characters, even in a greater degree, accord- 
ing to Rtitimeyer, 38 than do the fossil species of Europe, 
namely Bos primigenias, 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 ran wild in parts of 
Oude and Rohilcund, and can maintain themselves in a 
region infested by tigers. They have given rise to many 
races differing greatly in size, in the presence of one or 
two humps, in length of horns, and other respects. Mr. 
Blyth sums up emphatically that the humped and 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-hunted cattle must be ranked 
as specifically distinct. 

32 ' Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 1861, teen or fourteen in number ; see a note in 
s. 109, 149, 222. See also Geoffroy Saint ' Indian Field,' 1858, p. 62. 
Hilaire, in ' Mem. du Mus. d'Hist. Nat,' 33 ' The Indian Field,' 1858, p. 74, 
torn. x. p. 172; and his son Isidore, in where Mr. Blyth gives his authorities 
' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 69. Vasey, with respect to the feral humped cattle, 
in his ' Delineations of the Ox Tribe,' Pickering, also, in his ' Races of Man,' 
1851, p. 127, says the zebu has four, and 1850, p. 274, notices the peculiar cha- 
the common ox five, sacral vertebras. racterof the grunt-like voice of the hump- 
Mr. Hodgson found the ribs either thir- ed cattle. 


The Em'opean breeds of humpless cattle are numerous. 
Professor Low enumerates 19 British breeds, only a few 
of which are identical with those on the Continent. Even 
the small Channel islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and 
Alderney, possess their own sub-breeds; 34 and these 
again differ from the cattle of the other British islands, 
such as Anglesea, and the western isles of Scotland. 
Desmarest, who paid attention to the subject, describes 
15 French races, excluding sub-varieties and those im- 
ported from other countries. Iu 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 forequarters. 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 syno- 
nyms.- It must not be supposed that numerous breeds 
of cattle exist only in long-civilized countries, for we shall 
presently see that several kinds are kept by the savages 
of Southern Africa. 

With respect to the parentage of the several European breeds, we 
already know much from Nilsson's Memoir, 37 and more especially 
from Rtitimeyer's ' Pfahlbauten ' and succeeding works. Two or 
three specimens or forms of Bos, closely allied to still living domestic 
races, have been found fossil in the more recent tertiary deposits of 
Europe. Following Riitimeyer, we have : — 

Bos primigenius. — This magnificent, well-known species was do- 
mesticated in Switzerland during tlie 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 

34 Mr. II. E. Marquand, in ' The genius. 

Times,' June 23rd, 1856. 3e Moll and Gayot, ' La Connaissance 

31 Vasey, ' Delineations of the Ox Gen. du Boeuf,' Paris, 1S60. Fig. S2 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 Riitimeyer (' Zahmen. Europ. parts in the ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. 

EUndes., 1S66, s. 13), from Bos primi- Hist.,' 2nd series, vol. iv., 1849. 

104 CA1TLE. Chap. in. 

Friesland, &c, and the Pembroke race in England, closely resemble 
in essential structure B. primigenius, and no doubt are its descen- 
dants. 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 Chillingham ; for 
I am informed by Professor Eiitimeyer, to whom Lord Tankerville 
sent a skull, that the Chillingham cattle are less altered from the 
true primigenius type than any other known breed. 88 

Bos trochoceros. — This form is not included in the three species 
above mentioned, for it is now considered by Rutimeyer to be the 
female of an early domesticated form of B. primigenius, and as the 
progenitor of his frontosus race. I may add that specific names 
have been given to four other fossil oxen, now believed to be iden- 
tical with B. primigenius.™ 

Bos longifrons (or brachyceros) of Owen. — This very distinct spe- 
cies was of small size, and had a short body with fine legs. It has 
been found in England associated with the remains of the elephant 
and rhinoceros. 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 Roman period, 
and supplied food to the Roman legionaries. 41 Some remains have 
been found in Ireland in certain crannoges, of which the dates are 
believed to be from 843-933 a.d. 42 Professor Owen 43 thinks it pro- 
bable that the Welsh and Highland cattle are descended from this 
form ; as likewise is the case, according to Rutimeyer, 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. 

Bos frontosus of Nilsson. — This species is allied to B. longifrons, 
but in the opinion of some good judges is distinct from it. Both co- 
existed in Scania during the same late geological period, 44 and both 

38 See, also, Rutimeyer's ' Beitrage pal. 1S66, p. xv. 

Gesch. der Wiederkauer,' Basel, 1S65, s. * 2 W. R. Wilde, 'An Essay on the 

54. Animal Remains, &c, Royal Irish Aca- 

39 Pictet's ' Paleontologie,' torn. i. p. demy,' 1860, p. 29. Also ' Proc. of R. 
3G5 (2nd edit.) With respect to B. tro- Irish Acudemy,' 1858, p. 48. 
choceros, see Rutimeyer's ' Zalimen Eu- 43 ' Lecture : Royal Institution of G-. 
rop. Rindes,' 1S66, s. 26. Britain,' May«nd, 1S56, p. 4. 'British 

40 Owen, 'British Fossil Mammals,' Fossil Mammals,' p. 513. 

1S46, p. 510. 44 Nilsson, in ' Annals and Mag. of 

41 ' British Pleistocene Mammalia,' by Nat. Hist.,' 1S49, vol. iv. p. 354. 
W. B. Dawkins and W. A. Sandford, 


have been found in the Irish crannoges." Nilsson believes that hia 
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 capa- 
ble judge 46 has remarked that he saw no cattle in Norway like the 
Highland breed, but that they more nearly resembled the Devon- 
Eliire breed. 

Hence we see that three forms or species of Bos, ori- 
ginally 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 (ndfc 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 J3. primige- 
niics type in the British parks can hardly be considered 
as truly wild. Although certain races of cattle, domes- 
ticated at a very ancient period in Europe, are the de- 
scendants 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 inconclu- 
sive. There is indirect evidence that our cattle are the 
descendants of species which originally inhabited a tem- 
perate 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 

46 See W. R. Wilde, ut supra ; and Mr. «? Isid. Geoflroy St. Hilaire, 'Hist. 

Blyth, in ' Proc. Irish Academy,' March Nat. Gen.,' torn, iii, p. 96. 

5th, 1S64. «8 idem, torn. iii. pp. 82, 91. 

48 Laiog's 'Tour in Norway,' p. 110. 

106 CATTLE. Chap. Ill 

could behold the magnificent wild bulls on the bleak 
Falkland Islands in the southern hemisphere, and doubt 
about the climate being admirably suited to them. 
Azara has remarked that in the temperate regions of La 
Plata the cows conceive when two years old, whilst in 
the much hotter country of Paraguay they do not con- 
ceive 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 by nearly all palaeontologists as distinct species ; 
and it would not be reasonable to change their denomina- 
tion simply because they are now found to be the parents 
of several domesticated races. But what is of most im- 
portance for us, as showing that they deserve to be rank- 
ed 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 certain- 
ly have been detected. As zebus inhabit a distant and 
much hotter region, and as they differ in so many charac- 
ters 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 as- 
sured 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 60 the two species are 
allowed to breed freely together. Most of the cattle 

49 ' Quadrupedes du Paraguay,' torn. ii. p. 360. 

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


■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 descen- 
dants 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 future chapter we shall see that this doctrine throws 
much light on the difficult subject of Hybridism. 

I have alluded to the cattle in Chilling!] am Park, 
which, according to Riitimeyer, have been very little 
changed from the Bos primigenius type. This park is so 
ancient that it is referred to in a record of the year 1220. 
The cattle in their instincts and habits are truly wild. They 
are white, with the inside of the ears reddish brown, eyes 
rimmed with black, muzzles brown, hoofs black, and horns 
white tipped with black. Within a period of thirty-three 
years about a dozen calves were born with " brown and 
blue spots upon the cheeks or necks ; but these, together 
with any defective animals, were always destroyed. " Ac- 
cording to Bewick, about the year 1770 some calves ap- 
peared with black ears ; but these were also destroyed 
by the keeper, and black ears have not since reappeared. 
The wild white cattle in the Duke of Hamilton's park, 
where I have heard of the birth of a black calf, are said 
by Lord Tankervillc to be inferior to those at Chilling- 
ham. 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 differ- 
ence in the colour of the ears." " They frequently tend to 

108 CATTLE. Chap. in. 

become entirely black ; and a singular superstition pre- 
vails in the vicinity that, when a black calf is born, some 
calamity impends over the noble house of Ferrers. All 
the black calves are destroyed." The cattle at Burton 
Constable in Yorkshire, now extinct, had ears, muzzle, 
and the tip of the tail black. Those at Gisburne, also in 
Yorkshire, are said by Bewick to have been sometimes 
without dark muzzles, with the inside alone of the ears 
brown ; and they are elsewhere said to have been low in 
stature and hornless. 61 

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

The cattle in all the parks are white ; but, from the oc- 
casional appearance of dark-coloured calves, it is ex- 
tremely doubtful whether the aboriginal JBos primigenius 
was white. The following 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 M can be trusted, the r wild 
cattle of Scotland were white and furnished with a great 
mane : but the colour of their ears is not mentioned. 

61 I am much indebted to the present those of the Duke of Queensberry, nee 

Earl of Tankerville for information about Pennant's ' Tour in Scotland,' p. 109. For 

his wild cattle; and for the skull which those of Chartley, see Low's ' Domesti- 

was sent to Prof. Rutimeyer. The fullest cated Animals of Britain,' 1S45, p. 233. 

account of the Chillingharn cattle is given For those of Gisburne, see Bewick's 

by Mr. Hindmarsh, together with a let- 'Quadrupeds, and Encyclop. of Rural 

ter by the late Lord Tankerville, in 'An- Sports,' p. 101. 

nals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. ii., 1839, 5 ' 2 Boethius was born in 1470; 'An- 

p. 274. See Bewick, ' Quadrupeds,' 2nd nals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. ii., 

edit., 1791, p. 85, note. With respect to 1839, p. 281 ; and vol. i v., 1849, p. 424 

CHAP. Ill 


The primaeval forest formerly extended across the whole 
country from Chillingham to Hamilton, and Sir Walter 
Scott used to maintain that the cattle still preserved in 
these two parks, at the two extremities of the forest, 
were remnants of its original inhabitants ; and this view 
certainly seems pi-obable. In Wales, 63 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 hun- 
dred 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 appa- 
rently 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 pro- 
bably 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 tinged with red. 

The cattle which have run wild on the Pampas, in 
Texas, and in two parts of Africa, have become of nearly 
uniform dark brownish-red. 6 * 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." 66 The 
Falkland Islands, situated far south, with all the con- 
ditions 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 ; 

63 Youatt on Cattle, 1834, p. 48: 64 Azara, ' Des Quadrupedes du Para- 
ge also p. 242, on short horn cattle. guay,' torn. ii. p. 361. Azara quotes Buf. 
Bell, in his 'British Quadrupeds,' p. fon for the feral cattle of Africa. For 
423, states that, after long attending to Texas, see 'Times,' Feb. ISth, 1S46. 
the subject, he has found that white 66 Anson's Voyage. See Kerr and 
cattle invariably have coloured ears. Porter's ' Collection,' vol. xii. p. 103. 

110 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

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 co- 
lours 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 unusual tint. These latter cattle, though 
generally inhabiting high land, breed about a month 
earlier than the other cattle ; and this circumstance would 
aid in keeping them distinct and in perpetuating this pe- 
culiar 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 Suli- 
van informs me, white spots in one district, and dark 
spots in another district, were always looked out for on 
the distant hills. In the intermediate districts interme- 
diate colours prevailed. Whatever the cause may be, 
this tendency in the wild cattle of the Falkland Islands, 
which are all descended from a few brought from La 
Plata, to break up into herds of three different colours, 
is an interesting fact. 

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

a * See also Mr. Mackinnon's pamphlet on the Falkland Islands, p. 24. 


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 Col- 
ling'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," who has given a table of the average period 
of their dentition, which proves that there is a difference 
of no less than six months in the appearance of the per- 
manent incisors. The period of gestation, from observa- 
tions made by Tessier on 1131 cows, varies to the extent 
of eighty-one days ; and What is more interesting, M. 
Lefour affirms " that the period of gestation is longer in 
the large German cattle than in the smaller breeds." 68 
With respect to the period of conception, it seems certain 
that Alderney and Zetland* cows often become pregnant 
earlier than other breeds. 69 Lastly, as four fully-deve- 
loped mammas is a generic character in the genus Bos, 60 
it is worth notice that with our domestic cows the two 
rudimentary mammas often become fairly well develoj)ed 
and yield milk. 

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 

67 ' The Age of the Ox, Sheep, Pig,' vations from Touatt on Cattle, p. 527. 

4c, by Prof. James Simonds, published 69 'The Veterinary,' vol. viii. p. 881, 

by order of the Royal Agricult. Soc. and vol. x. p. 26S. Low's ' Domest. 

88 ' Ann. Agricult. France,' April, Animals of Great Britain,' p. 297. 

1837, as quoted in 'The Veterinary,' 6< > Mr. Ogilby, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 

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

112 CATTLE. " Chap. IIL 

at war with each other and therefore have little free com- 
munication, 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 travellei's 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 lails are adorned with a tuft of long 
bushy hair nearly touching the ground, and their horns 
are extraordinarily large. The Bechuana cattle have even 
larger horns, and there is now a skull in London with the 
two horns 8 ft. 8£ in. long, as measured in a straight line 
from tip to tip, and no less tnan 13 ft. 5 in., as measured 
along their curvature ! Mr. Andersson in his letter to me 
says that, though he will not venture to describe the 
differences between the breeds belonging to the many 
different sub-tribes, yet such certainly exist, as shown by 
the wonderful facility with which the natives discrimi- 
nate 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 

61 Leguat's Voyage, quoted by Vasey e2 ' Travels in South Africa,' pp. 31T, 

in his ' Delineations of the Ox-tribe,' p. 836. 


which now exist in such vast numbers are the descend- 
ants of a few imported from Spain and Portugal. In 
Columbia, Roulin 63 describes two peculiar breeds, 
namely, pelones, with extremely thin and fine hair, and 
calongos, absolutely naked. According to Castelnau 
there are two races in Brazil, one like European cattle, 
the other different, with remarkable horns. In Paraguay, 
Azara describes a breed which certainly originated in S. 
America called chivos, " because they have straight ver- 
tical 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 

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 descrip- 
tion. 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 Rutimeyer believes that these cattle belong to 
the primigenius type." The forehead is very short and 
broad, with the nasal end of the skull, together with the 
whole plane of the upper molar-teeth, curved upwards. 
The lower jaw projects beyond the upper, and has a 
corresponding upward curvature. It is an interesting 
fact that an almost similar conformation characterizes, as 
I have been informed by Dr. Falconer, the extinct and 

83 ' Mem. de l'lnstitut present par not form a distinct race. Prof. Wyman, 

divers Savans,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 333. of Cambridge, United States, informs me 

For Brazil, see ' Comptes Rendus,' June that the common cod-fish presents a 

15th, 1846. See Azara, ' Quadrupedes similar monstrosity, called by the fisher- 

du Paraguay,' torn. ii. pp. 359, 361. men the "bulldog cod." Prof. Wyman 

64 ' Schweineschadel,' 1864, s. 104. also concluded, after making numerous 

Nathusius states that the form of skull inquiries in La Plata, that the niata 

characteristic of the niata cattle occa- cattle transmit their peculiarities or form 

sionally appears in European cattle ; a race. 

but he is mistaken, as we shall hereafter 65 Ueber Art des Zahmen Europ. Rin- 

see, in supposing that these cattle do desj 1S66. s. 2S. 

114 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

gigantic Sivatherium of India, and is not known in any 
other ruminant. The upper lip is much drawn hack, 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 he longer, compared with the front legs, 
than is usual. The exposed incisor teeth, the short head 
and upturned nostrils, give these cattle the most ludi- 
crous, self-confident air of defiance. The skull which I 
presented to the College of Surgeons has been thus de- 
scribed by Professor Owen : 66 " It is remarkable from the 
stunted development of the nasals, premaxillaries, and 
fore-part of the lower jaw, which is unusually curved up- 
wards 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 vacui- 
ty is left between them, the frontal and lachrymal, which 
latter bone articulates with the premaxillary, and thus 
excludes the maxillary from any junction with the nasal." 
So that even the connexion of some of the bones is chang- 
ed. 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 compari- 
son 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 curiosi- 
ties near Buenos Ayres. Their origin is not positively 
known, but they must have originated subsequently to 
the year 1552, when cattle were first introduced. Signor 
Muniz informs me that the breed is believed to have ori- 

*• 'Descriptive Cat. of Ost. Collect, of has given a figure of this skull ; and I 
College of Surgeons,' 1S53 p. 624. Vasey, sent a photograph of it to Prof. R&ti- 
in his ' Delineations of the Ox-tribe ' meyer. 


ginated 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 hav- 
ing an intermediate character, but with the niata cha- 
racter 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 pe- 
culiarities more strongly than does the niata bull when 
crossed with a common cow. When the pasture is toler- 
ably 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 nia- 
tas 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 rejec- 
tion of the niata modification had it arisen in a state of 

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." It had a 

"Loudon's 'Magazine of Nat. Hist.,' given of the animal, its hoofs, eye, and 
vol. i. 1S29, p. 113. Separate figures are dewlap. 

116 CATTLE. Chap. HI. 

hump, and was furnished with a mane. The dewlap was 
peculiar, being divided between its forelegs 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 " resem- 
bled 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 ofi", and ly- 
ing transversely across the ball." A new and strange 
breed might probably have been formed by careful breed- 
ing and selection from this animal. 

I have often speculated on the probable causes through 
which each sepai - ate district in Great Britain came to pos- 
sess in former times its own peculiar breed of cattle; and 
the question is, perhaps, even more perplexing in the case 
of Southern Africa. We now know that the differences 
may be in part attributed to descent from distinct spe- 
cies ; but this will not suffice. Have the slight differ- 
ences in climate and in the nature of the pasture, in the 
different districts of Britain, drrectly induced correspond- 
ing differences in the cattle? We have seen that the 
semi-wild cattle in the several British parks are not iden- 
tical in colouring or size, and that some degree of selection 
has been requisite to keep them true. It is almost cer- 
tain that abundant food given during many generations 
directly affects the size of a breed. 68 That climate di- 
rectly affects the thickness of the skin and the hair is 
likewise certain ; thus Roulin asserts 68 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 plat- 
form 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 

• 8 Low, ' Domesticated Annuals of the 69 ' Mem. de l'lnstitut present, par di- 

British Isles,' p. 2(54. vers Savans,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 882. 


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 com- 
pare mountain and lowland breeds, Ave cannot doubt that 
an active life, leading to the free use of the limbs and 
lungs, affects the shape and proportions of the whole 
body. It is probable that some breeds, such as the semi- 
monstrous niata cattle, and some peculiarities, such as 
being hornless, &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 ani- 
mals thus characterized must be at least partially sepa- 
rated 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 occa- 
sionally 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 ; " yet in the hands of Mr. Fow- 
ler, this bull greatly improved his race. We have also 
reason to believe that selection, carried on so far uncon- 

70 Idem, pp. 804, 36S, &c. count of this bull is taken from Mar- 

71 Youatt on Cattle, p. 193. A full ac- shall. 

118 CATTLE. Chap. HI. 

sciously that thei-e was at no one time any distinct intention 
to improve or change the breed, has in the course of time 
modified most of our cattle ; for by this process, aided by 
more abundant food, all the lowland British breeds have 
increased greatly in size and in early maturity since the 
reign of Henry VII. 72 It should never be forgotten that 
many animals have to be annually slaughtered ; so that 
each owner must determine which shall be killed and 
which preserved for breeding. In every district, as You- 
att has remarked, there is a prejudice in favor of the na- 
tive breed ; so that animals possessing qualities, whatever 
they may be, which are most valued in each district, will 
be oftenest preserved ; and this unmethodical selection 
assuredly will in the long run affect the character of the 
whole breed. But it may be asked, can this rude kind of 
selection have been practised by barbarians such as those 
of southern Africa ? In a future chapter on Selection we 
shall see that this has certainly occurred to some extent. 
Therefore, looking to the origin of the many breeds of 
cattle which formerly inhabited the several districts of 
Britain, I conclude that, although slight differences in the 
nature of the climate, food, &c, as well as changed habits 
of life, aided by correlation of growth, and the occasional 
appearance from unknown causes of considerable devia- 
tions of structure, have all probably played their parts ; yet 
that the occasional preservation in each district of those 
individual animals which were most valued by each own- 
er has perhaps been even more effective 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 Avere intro- 
duced, their crossing, especially if aided by some selec- 
tion, will have multiplied the number and modified the 
characters of the older breeds. 

72 Youatt on Cattle, \i. 116. Lord Spencer has written on this same subject. 



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 are in the whole world fourteen spe- 
cies, one of which, the Corsican moufflon, he concludes 
(as I am informed by him) to be the parent of the small- 
er, 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 un- 
known 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 na- 
turalist 74 believes that our sheep descend from ten abo- 
riginally distinct species, of which only one is still living 
in a wild state ! Another ingenious observer, 75 though 
not a naturalist, with a bold defiance of everything 
known on geographical distribution, infers that the sheep 
of Great Britain alone are the descendants of eleven en- 
demic British forms ! Under such a hopeless state of 
doubt it would be useless for my purpose to give a de- 
tailed account of the several breeds ; but a few remarks 
may b.e added. 

Sheep have been domesticated from a very ancient pe- 
riod. Rutimeyer 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 

73 Blyth on the genus Ovis, in 'An- 74 Dr. L. Fitzinger, 'Ueber die Racen 
nals and Mag. of Nat. History,' vol. vii., des Zahmen Schafes,' 1S60, s. 86. 
1841, p. 261 : with respect to the parent- 75 J. Anderson, ' Recreations in Agri- 
age of the breeds, see Mr. Blyth's excel- culture and Natural History,' vol. ii. p. 
lent articles in ' Land and Water,' 1S67, 164. 

pp. 184,156. Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des 78 ' Pfahlbauten,' s. 127, 193. 
Mammiferes,' 1S55, torn. ii. pT 191. 

120 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

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 vertebrae, 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 sheep which have two 
great masses of fat on the rump, with the tail in a rudi- 
mentary condition. The Angola variety of the long-tailed 
race has curious masses of fat on the back of the head and 
beneath the jaws. 77 Mr. Hodgson in an admirable paper 78 
on the sheep of the Himalaya infers from the distribution 
of the several races, " that this caudal augmentation in 
most of its phases is an instance of degeneracy in these 
pre-eminently Alpine animals." The horns present an 
endless diversity in character; being, 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 accompanied by 
great length and coarseness of the fleece." 79 This corre- 
lation, 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 

« Touatt on Sheep, p. 120. gal,* vol. xvi. pp. 1007, 1016. 

T8 'Journal of the Asiatic Soc. of Ben- '» Youatt on Sheep, pp. 142-169, 


Cagias (a sub-Himalayan domestic race) possessed of four 

teats." eo This case is the more remarkable as, when any 
part or organ is present in reduced number in comparison 
with the same part in allied groups, it usually is subject 
to little variation. The presence of interdigital pits has 
likewise been considered as a generic distinction in sheep ; 
but Isidore Geoffroy 81 has shown that these pits or pouch- 
es are absent in some breeds. 

In sheep there is a strong tendency for characters, 
which have apparently been acquired under domestica- 
tion, 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 htfrns spring almost perpendicu- 
larly 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." ea Mr. Hodgson states that the extra- 
ordinarily arched nose or chaffron, which is so highly 
developed in several foreign breeds, is characteristic of 
the ram alone, and apparently is the result of domestica- 
tion." 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 constitu- 
tional differences. Tims the improved breeds arrive at 
maturity at an early ago, as has been well shown by Mr. 
Simonds through their early average period of dentition. 
The several races have become adapted to different kinds 

80 ' Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal,' vol. 83 'Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal.' vol. 

jcvi., 1S47, p. 1015. xvi., 1S47, pp. 1015, 101G. 

•' ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. III. p. 435. Bi 'Racen des Zahmen Schafes,' s. 7f, 
M Youatt on Sheep, p. 138. 


122 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

of pasture and climate : for instance, no one can rear 
Leicester sheep on mountainous regions, where Cheviots 
flourish. As Youatt has remarked, "in all the different 
districts of Great Britain we find various breeds of sheep 
beautifully adapted to the locality which they occupy. 
No one knows their origin ; they are indigenous to the 
soil, climate, pasturage, and the locality on which they 
graze ; they seem to have been formed for it and by it." 8S 
Marshall relates 86 that a flock of heavy Lincolnshire and 
light Norfolk sheep which had been bred together in a 
large sheep-walk, part of which was low, rich, and moist, 
and another part high and dry, with benty grass, when 
turned out, regularly separated from each other ; the 
heavy sheep drawing off to the rich soil, and the lighter 
sheep to their own soil ; so that " whilst there was plenty 
of grass the two breeds kept themselves as distinct as 
rooks and pigeons." Numerous sheep from various parts 
of the world have been brought during a long course of 
years to the Zoological Gardens of London ; but as 
Youatt, who attended the animals as a veterinary sm*geon, 
remarks, " few or none die of the rot, but they are 
phthisical ; not one of them from a torrid climate lasts 
out the second year, and when they die their lungs are 
tuberculated." 87 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 desti'oyed 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 
unalterable a character, that a supposed difference be- 
tween the wolf and the dog in this respect w#s esteemed 

85 ' Rural Economy of Norfolk,' vol. periments in crossing Cheviot sheep with 
ii. p. 136. Leicesters, see Youatt, p. 325. 

86 Youatt on Sheep, p. 31?. On same 87 Youatt on Sheep, note, p. 491. 
subject, see excellent remarks in ' Gar- 88 'The Veterinary,' vol. x., p. 217. 
dner's Chronicle,' 1S5S, p. 868. For ex- 


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 excel- 
lent authority of Hermann von Nathusius," 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 1503 days. 

Southdowns . . . . 144.2 „ 

Half-bred Merinos and Southdowns . . 1463 „ 

£ blood of Southdown 1455 „ 

* „ „ 144-3 » 

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 trans- 
mitted. Nathusius remarks that, as Southdowns grow 
with remarkable rapidity after birth, it is not surprising 
that their fetal development should have been shortened. 
It is of course possible that the difference in these two 
breeds may be due to their descent from distinct parent- 
species ; but as the early maturity of the Southdowns has 
long been carefully attended to by breeders, the differ- 
ence is more probably the result of such attention. Lastly, 
the fecundity of the several breeds differs much : some 
generally producing twins or even triplets at a birth, of 
which fact the curious Shangai sheep (with their trunca- 
ted and rudimentary ears, and great Roman noses), lately 
exhibited in the Zoological Gardens, offer a remarkable 

Sheep are perhaps more readily affected by the direct 
action of the conditions of life to which they have been 
exposed than almost any other domestic animal. Ac- 
cording to Pallas, and more recently according to Erman, 

*• A translation of his paper is given in ' Bull. Soc. Imp. d'Acclimat.,' torn, ix., 1862, 
p. 723. 

124 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

the fat-tailed Kirghisian sheep, when bred for a few gen- 
erations in Russia, degenerate, and the mass of fat dwin- 
dles away, " the scanty and bitter herbage of the steppes 
seems so essential to their development." Pallas makes 
an analogous statement with respect to one of the Crimean 
breeds. Burnes states that the Karakool breed, which 
produces a fine, curled, black, and valuable fleece, when 
removed from its own canton near Bokhara to Persia, or to 
other quarters, loses its peculiar fleece. 90 In all such cases, 
however, it may be that a change of any kind in the con- 
ditions of life causes variability and consequent loss of 
character, and not that certain conditions are necessary 
for the development of certain characters. 

' Great heat, however, seems to act directly on the fleece : 
several accounts have been published of the change which 
sheep imported from Europe undergo in the West Indies. 
Dr. Nicholson of Antigua informs me that, after the third 
generation, the wool disappears from the whole body, 
except over the loins ; and the animal then appears like a 
goat with a dirty door-mat on its back. A similar change 
is said to take place on the west coast of Africa. 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 
on a goat is produced ever afterwards. This curious re- 
sult seems merely to be an exaggerated tendency natural 

80 Erman's 'Travels in Siberia' (Eng. 91 See Report of the Directors of the 

trans.), vol. i. p. 228. For Pallas on the Sierra Leone Company, as quoted in 

fat-tailed sheep, I quote from Anderson's White's ' Gradation of Man,' p. 95. With 

account of the ' Sheep of Russia,' 1794, respect to the change which sheep un- 

p. 34. With respect to the Crimean sheep, dergo in the West Indies, see also Dr. 

see Pallas' ' Travels ' (Eng. trans.), vol. Davy, ia ' Edin. New. Phil. Journal,' Jan. 

ii. p. 454. For the Karakool sheep, see 1852. For the statement made by Roulin, 

Burnes' 'Travels in Bokhara,' vol. iii. p. see ' Mem. de l'lnstitut present, par di- 

151. vers Savans,' torn, vi., 1&35, p. 347. 


to the Merino breed, for as a great authority, namely, 
'Lord Somerville, remarks, " the wool of»our Merino sheep 
after shear-time is hard and coarse to such a degree as to 
render it almost impossible to suppose that the same ani- 
mal could bear wool so opposite in quality, compared to 
that which has been clipped from it : as the cold weather 
advances, the fleeces recover their soft quality." As in 
sheep of all breeds the fleece naturally consists of longer 
and coarser hair covering- shorter and softer wool, the 
change which it often undergoes in hot climates is proba- 
bly merely a case of unequal development; for even with 
those sheep which like goats are covered with hair, a 
small quantity of underlying wool may always be found. 93 
In the wild mountain-sheep (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 different in character from the or- 
dinary 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 repeat- 
edly insists, that the tendency to change may generally 
be counteracted by cai'eful 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 sup- 

92 Youatt on Sheep, p. 69, where Lord tendency to change, see pp. 70, 117, 120, 

Somerville is quoted. See p. 117, on the 168. 

presence of wool under the hair. With 93 Audubon and Bachman,' The Quad- 
respect to the fleeces of Australian sheep, rupeds of North America,' 1S46, vol. v. 
p. 135. On selection counteracting any p. 365. 

126 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

port of this ray unalterable principle, that fine-wooled 
sheep may be kept wherever industrious men and intelli- 
gent breeders exist." 

That methodical selection has effected great changes 
in several breeds of sheep no one. who knows anything 
on the subject, entertains a doubt. . The case of the South- 
downs, 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 large- 
ly 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 thisauthor expresses it, are indispensable. 84 

In some few instances new breeds have suddenly ori- 
ginated ; thus, in 1791, a ram-lamb was born in Massachu- 
setts, having short crooked legs and a long back, like a 
turnspit-dog. From, this one lamb the otter or ancon 
genii-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 remarkable from 
transmitting their character so truly that Colonel Hum- 
phreys 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 exceptions, 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 them- 
selves from the rest of the flock when put into enclosures 
with other sheep." • 

A more interesting case has been recorded in the Re- 

84 'Journal of R. Agricult. Soc of Eng- e5 ' Phllosoph. Transactions, 1 London, 

land,' vol. rfx., part ii. W. C Spooner on 1S13, p. 88. 

Chap. III. GOATS. 127 

port of the Juries for the Great Exhibition (1851), namely, 
the production of a merino ram-lamb on the Mauchamp 
farm, in 1828, whicTi was remarkable for its long;, smooth, 
straight, and silky wool. By the year 1833 M. Graux 
had raised rams enough to serve his whole flock, and after 
a few more years he was able to sell stock of his new 
breed. So peculiar and valuable is the wool, that it sells 
at 25 per cent, above the best merino wool : even the 
fleeces of half-bred animals are valuable, and are known 
in France as the "Mauchamp-merino." It is interesting, 
as showing how generally any marked deviation of struc- 
ture is accompanied by other deviations, that the first 
ram and his immediate offspring were of small size, with 
large heads, long necks, narrow chests, and long flanks ; 
but these blemishes were removed by judicious crosses 
and selection. The long smooth wool was also correlated 
with smooth horns ; and as horns and hair are homolo- 
gous structures, Ave 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 Mau- 
champ race, that they had each descended from, or been 
crossed with, some unknown aboriginal form. 


From the recent researches of M. Brandt, most natural- 
ists 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. Falconeri of 
India. 98 In Switzerland, during the early Stone period, 
the domestic goat was commoner than the sheep; and 

88 Isidore GeoflYoy St. Hilaire, ' Hist. he thinks that certain Eastern races 

Nat. Generale,' torn. Hi. p. 87. Mr. may perhaps be in part descended from 

Blyth ('Land and Water,' 1S67, p. 87) the Asiatic markhor. 
has arrived at a similar conclusion, but 

128 GOATS. Chap. III. 

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 9,9 has 
described eight distinct kinds imported into the one 
island of Mauritius. The ears of one kind were enor- 
mously developed, being, as measured by Mr. Clark, no 
less than 19 inches in length and 4-f inches in breadth. 
As with cattle, the raammse of those breeds which are 
regularly milked become greatly developed ; and, as Mr. 
Clark remarks, " it is not rare to see their teats touching 
the ground." The following cases are worth notice as 
presenting unusual points of variation. According to 
Godron, 100 the mamma? differ greatly in shape in different 
breeds, being elongated in the common goat, hemisphe- 
rical 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 odom\ In one of the Indian breeds the males 
and females have horns of widely-different shapes; I01 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 characteristic of the genus Capra ; 
but Mr. Hodgson has found that they exist in the front 

97 Riitimeyer, ' Pfahlbauten,' s. 127. the Muscat breed purchased at a high 

98 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. price for a female in full milk. These 
402. differences in the scrotum are probably 

99 ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' not due to descent from distinct species ; 
vol. ii. (2nd series), 1843, p. 363. for Mr. Clark states that this part varies 

ioo ' D e l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 406. Mr. much in form. 

Clark also refers to differences in the m Mr. Clark, ' Annate and Mag. of 

shape of the mammas. Godron states Nat. Hist.,' vol. ii. (2nd series), 1S48, p. 

that in the Nubian race the scrotum is 861. 

divided into two lobes; and Mr. Clark I02 Desmarest, ' Encyclop. Method, 

gives a ludicrous proof of this fact, for Mammalogie,' p. 430. 
he saw in the Mauritius a male goat of 

Chap. III. GOATS. ] 29 

feet of the majority of Himalayan goats. 103 Mr. Hodg- 
son 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 coecum was thirteen inches, and in the 
other no less than thirty-six inches in length ! 

i" ' Journal of Asiatic Soc. of Bengal,' vol. xvi., 1S17, pp. 1020, 1025. 





All naturalists, with, as far as I know, a single exception, 
believe that the several domestic breeds of the rabbit are 
descended from the. common wild species ; I shall there- 
fore describe them more carefully than in the previous 
cases. Professor Gervais ' states " that the true wild rab- 
bit 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 op- 
posed to the opinion which unites these animals under the 
same specific denomination." Few naturalists will agree 
with this author that such slight differences are sufficient 
to separate as distinct species the wild and domestic rab- 
bit. How extraordinary it would be, if close confinement, 

1 M. P. Gervais. Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes,' torn, i., 1354, p. 288. 


perfect tamcness, unnatural food, and careful breeding, all 
pi'olonged during many generations, had not produced at 
least some effect ! The tame rabbit has been domesticated 
from an aifcient period. Confucius ranges rabbits among 
animals worthy to be sacrificed to the gods, and, as he 
prescribes their multiplication, they were probably at this 
early period domesticated in China. They are mentioned 
by several of the classical writers. In 1631 Gervaise 
Markham writes, " You shall not, as in other cattell, looke 
to their shape, but to their richnesse, onely elect your 
buckes, the largest and goodliest conies you can get ; and 
for the richnesse of the skin, that is accounted the richest 
which hath the equallest mixture of blacke and white 
haire together, yet the blacke rather shadowing the Avhite ; 
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. Al- 
drovandi, in 1637, describes, on the authority of several 
old writers (as Scaliger, in 1557), rabbits of various co- 
lours, some " like a hare," and he adds that P. Valerianus 
(who died a very old man in 1558) saw at Verona rabbits 
four times bigger than ours. 2 

From this fact of the rabbit having been domesticated 
at an ancient period, we musflook to the northern hemi- 
sphere of the Old World, and to the warmer temperate re- 
gions alone, for the aboriginal parent-form; for the rabbit 
cannot live without protection in countries as cold as Swe- 
den, and, though it has run wild in the tropical island of 
Jamaica, it has never greatly multiplied there. It now ex- 

8 U. Aldrovandi, ' De Quadrupedibus studied the subject in ' Cottage Qarden- 
digitatis,' 1G37, p. 383. For Confucius er,' Jan. 22nd, 1861, p. 250. 
and G. Markham, tee a writer who ha3 


ists, 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 domes- 
ticated, though the process is generally very troublesome. 5 
The various domestic races are often crossed, and are be- 
lieved to be perfectly fertile together, and a perfect gra- 
dation can be shown to exist from the largest domestic 
kinds, having enormously developed ears, to the common 
wild kind. The parent-form must have been a burrowing 
animal, a habit not common, as far as I can discover, to 
any other species in the large genus Lepus. Only one 
wild species is known with certainty to exist in Europe ; 
but the rabbit (if it be a true-rabbit) from Mount Sinai, 
and likewise that from Algeria, present slight differences, 
and these forms have been considered by some authors as 
specifically distinct. But such slight differences would aid 
us little in explaining the more considerable differences 
charactei'istic 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 exterminated 
in a wild state; and this is very improbable, seeing with 
what pertinacity this animal holds its ground. From these 
several reasons we may infer with safety that all the domes- 
tic breeds are the descendants of the common wild spe- 
cies. But from what we hear of the late marvellous suc- 
cess in rearing hybrids between the hare and rabbit, 7 it is 

3 Owen, ' British Fossil Mammals,' p. I have received two accounts of perfect 
212. success in taming and breeding from the 

4 Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutsch- wild rabbit. See also Dr. P. Broca, in 
lands,' 1831, b. i. p. 1133. I have re- 'Journal de la Physiologie,' torn. ii. p. 
ceived similar accounts with respect to 368. 

England and Scotland. 6 Gervais, 'Hist. Nat. des Mammi- 

6 ' pigeons and Rabbits,' by E. S. De- feres,' torn. i. p. 292. 

lamer, 1S54, p. 133. Sir J. Sebright (' Ob- 7 See Dr. P. Broca's interesting me- 

servations on Instinct,' 1836, p. 10) moir on this subject in Brown-Sequard's 

speaks most strongly on the difficulty. ' Journ. de Phys.,' vol. ii. p. 367. 
But this difficulty is not invariable, as 


possible, though not probable, from the great difficulty 
in making tha 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 dif- 
ferences in the skeletons of the several domestic breeds 
cannot, as, we shall presently see, have been derived from 
a cross with the hare. 

There are many breeds which transmit their characters 
more or less truly. Every one has seen the enormous 
lop-eared rabbits exhibited at our shows ; various allied 
sub-breeds are reared on the Continent, such as the so- 
called Andalusian, which is said to have a large head 
with a round forehead, and to attain a greater size than 
any other kind ; another large Paris breed is named the 
Rouennais, and has a square head ; the so-called Pa- 
tagonian rabbit has remarkably short ears and a large 
round head. Although I have not seen all these breeds, 
I feel some doubt about there being any marked difference 
in the shape of their skulls. 8 English lop-eared rabbits 
often weigh 8 lbs. or 10 lbs., and one has been exhibited 
weighing 18 lbs. ; whereas a full-sized wild rabbit weighs 
only about 3£ 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 prodigiously develop- 
ed, 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 car was 5| inches in breadth. In a common wild 
rabbit I found that the length of the two ears, from tip to 
tip, was *7| inches, and the breadth only ]£inch. The 
great weight of the body in the larger rabbits, and the 

8 They are briefly described in the ' Journal of Horticulture,' May 7th, 1861, p. 10S. 

134 DOMESTIC RABBITS. Chap. iv. 

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 Bel- 
gian rabbit, differs in nothing except colour from the 
other large breeds ; but Mr. J. Young, of Southampton, 
a great breeder of this kind, informs me that the females, 
in all the specimens examined by him, had only six mam- 
mae ; and this certainly was the case with two females 
which came into my possession. Mr. B. P. Brent, how- 
ever, assures me that the number is variable with other 
domestic rabbits. The common wild rabbit always has 
ten mammae. The Angora rabbit is remarkable from the 
length and fineness of its fur, which even on the soles of 
the feet is of considerable length. This breed is the only 
one which differs in its mental qualities, for it is said to 
be much more sociable than other rabbits, and the male 
shows no wish to destroy its young. 9 Two live rabbits 
were brought to me from Moscow, of about the size of 
the wild species, but with long soft fur, different from 
that of the Angora. These Moscow rabbits had pink 
eyes and were snow-white, excepting the ears, two spots 
near the nose, the upper and under surface of the tail, 
and the hinder tarsi, which were blackish-brown. In 
short, they were coloured nearly like the so-called Hima- 
layan 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 l£ lb. ; rabbits of 
this breed make excellent nurses for other and more 
delicate kinds." 10 

Certain characters are remarkably fluctuating, or are 

* 'Journal of Horticulture,' 1861, p. 10 'Journal of Horticulture,' May 

880. 28th, 1S61, p. 169. 


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 cross- 
ing 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 trans- 
mit this character at all truly. Mr. Delamer remarks 
that, " with fancy rabbits, when both the parents are per- 
fectly 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 pro- 
geny having both ears full-lop, as if both parents had 
been thus characterized. But I am informed, if both pa- 
rents have upright ears, there is hardly a chance of a full- 
lop. In some half-lops the ear. that hangs down is broader 
and longer than the upright ear ; 12 so that we have the 
unusual case of aVant 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 
from its great length and weight, favored no doubt by 
the weakness of the muscles consequent on disuse. An- 
derson 13 mentions a breed having only a single ear ; and 
Professor Gervais another breed which is destitute of 

11 ' Journal of nprticulture,' 1S61, p. 136. See also 'Journal of Horticulture,' 

327. With respect to the ears, nee 1S61, p. 375. 

Delamer on ' Pigeons and Rabbits,' 1S54, 13 ' An Account of the different Kinds 

p. 141 ; also ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. ii. of Sheep in the Russian Dominions,' 

p. 499, and ditto for 1S54, p. 5S6. 1794, p. 89. 

,a Delamer, ' Pigeons and Rabbits,' p. 


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

The origin of the Himalayan breed (sometimes called. 
Chinese, or Polish, or Russian) is so curious, both in itself, 
and as throwing some light on the complex laws of in- 
heritance, 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 per- 
fectly true. From their symmetrical marks, they were 
at first ranked as specifically distinct, and were provision- 
ally named L. nigripes. 1 * Some good observers thought 
that they could detect a difference in their habits, and 
stoutly maintained that they formed a new species. Their 
origin is now well knoAvn. A writer, in 1857, 15 stated that 
he had produced Himalayan rabbits in the following man- 
ner. But it is first necessary briefly to describe two other 
breeds : silver-greys or silver-sprigs generally have black 

14 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' June 23rd, 1S57, p. 159. 
10 ' Cottage Gardener,' 1S57, p. 141. 


heads and legs, and their fine grey fur is interspersed with 
numerous black and white long hairs. They breed perfect- 
ly 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. Sec- 
ondly, chinchillas or tame silver-greys (I will use the for- 
mer 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 chinchillas. These latter 
were again crossed Avith other chinchillas (which had also 
been crossed with silver-greys), and from this complicated 
cross Himalayan rabbits were raised. From these and 
other similar statements, Mr. Bartlett 17 was led to make 
a careful trial in the Zoological Gardens, and he found 
that by simply crossing silver-greys with chinchillas he 
could always produce some feAV Ilimalayans; and the lat- 
ter, notwithstanding their sudden origin, if kept separate, 
bred perfectly true. 

The Ilimalayans, when first born, are quite white, and 
are then time albinoes ; but in the course of a few months 
they gradually assume their dark ears, nose, feet, and tail. 
Occasionally, however, as I am informed by Mr. W. A. 
Wooler and the Rev. W. D. Fox, the young are born of 
a very pale grey colour, and specimens of such fur were 
Bent me by the former gentleman. The grey tint, how- 
ever, disappears as the animal comes to maturity. So 
that with these Ilimalayans there is a tendency, strictly 
confined to early youth, to revert to the colour of the 
adult silver-grey parent-stock. Silver-greys and chin- 

18 'Journal of Horticulture,' April 1T Mr. Bartlett, in 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 

9th, 18C1, p. 35. 136l,p.40. 


chillas, 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 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 perfectly white. 

To sum up the whole curious case : wild silver-greys 
may be considered as black rabbits which become grey 
at an early period of life. When they are crossed with 
common rabbits, the offspring are said not to have 
blended colours, but to take after either parent ; and in 
this respect they resemble black and albino varieties of 
most quadrupeds, which often transmit their colours in 
this same manner. When they are crossed with chin- 
chillas, 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 Hima- 
layans. The young Himalayans, however, ai*e sometimes 
at first either pale grey or completely black, in either 
case changing after to white. In a future chapter I 
shall advance a large body of facts showing that, when 

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


two varieties are crossed both of Avhich differ in colour 
from their parent-stock, there is a strong tendency in the 
young to revert to the aboriginal colour ; and what is 
very remarkable, this reversion occasionally supervenes, 
not before birth, but during the growth of the animal. 
Hence, if it could be shown that silver-greys and chin- 
chillas 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 differ- 
ent degrees, either to the original black or to the ori- 
ginal albino parent-variety. 

It is, also, remarkable that Himalayans, though produced 
so suddenly, breed true. But as, whilst young, they are 
alhinoes, 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, 
tajl, nose, and feet, and no other part of the bod} 7 , revert 
to a black colour ? This apparently depends on a law, 
which generally holds good, namely, that characters com- 
mon to many species of a genus — and this, in fact, implies 
long inheritance in common from the ancient progenitor 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 Lepns, 
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 win- 
ter become white : thus, in Scotland the L. variabilis I9 

19 G. K. Waterhouse, ' Natural History of Mammalia : Rodents,' 1816, pp. 53, CO, 


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. glaeialis 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 ren- 
dered intelligible. I may add a nearly. analogous case: 
fancy rabbits very often have a white star on their fore- 
heads ; and the common English hare, whilst young, gen- 
erally 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 liv- 
ing almost in a state of nature ; but a warren must not 
be stocked with both silver-greys and common rabbits * 
otherwise " in a few year* 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 Ja- 
maica 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 tropi- 

20 Delamer on ' Pigeons and Rabbits,' come feral in a hot country. They can 
p. 114. be kept, however, at Loanda {use Living- 

21 Gosse's ' Sojourn in Jamaica,' 1S51, stone's 'Travels,' p. 407). In parts cf 
p. 441, as described by an excellent ob- India, as I am informed by Mr. BIyth, 
server, Mr. R. Hill. This is the only they breed well. 

known case in which rabbits have be- 

Chap. IV. FERAL EA.BBITS. 141 

# oal island the conditions were not favourable to their 
increase, 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. Rabbits 
during many years have run wild in the Falkland Islands ; 
they are abundant in certain parts, but do not spread ex- 
tensively. 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 Avhite marks on their faces. Hence, M. Lesson 
described the black variety as a distinct species, under the 
name of Lepus magellanicus, but this, as I have elsewhere 
shown, is an error. 22 Within recent times the sealers 
have stocked some of the small outlying islets in the 
Falkland group with rabbits ; and on Pebble Islet, as I 
hear from Admiral Sulivan, a large" proportion are hare- 
coloured, whereas on Rabbit Islet a large proportion are 
of a bluish colour which is not elsewhere seen. How the 
rabbits were coloured which were turned out 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 rapidly, that 
they became a nuisance, and actually caused the aban- 
donment 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 

22 Darwin's ' Journal of Researches,' in 1717, entitled ' Historia Insulana,' 
p. 193; and 'Zoology of the Toyage of written by a Jesuit, the rabbits were 
the Beagle : Mammalia,' p. 92. turned out in 1420. Some authors be- 

23 Kerr's ' Collection of Voyages,' vol. licve that the island was discovered in 
ii. p. 177; p. 203 for Cada Mosto. Ac- 141:1 

cording to a work published in Lisbon 


every reason to believe that it was the common domesti- 
cated kind. The Spanish peninsula, whence Zarco sailed, 
is known to have abounded with the common wild spe- 
cies at the most remote historical period. As these rab- 
bits 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 re- 
quest, 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 condi- 
tions of life in Porto Santo are evidently highly favour- 
able 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 l7f inches in length; whilst two of the Porto 
Santo rabbits were only 14J 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 compari- 
son 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 propor- 
tion of rather less than five to nine. So that the Porto 
Santo rabbits have decreased nearly three inches in length, 
and almost half in weight of body. 24 The head has not 

24 Something of the same kind has oc- out some rabbits which multiplied pro- 

curred on the island of Lipari, where, digiously, but, says Spallanzani, "les 

according to Spallanzani ( ' Voyage dans lapins de Pile de Lipari sont plus petits 

les deux Siciles,' quoted by Godron sur que ceux qu'ou eleve eo domesticite." 
l'Espece, p. 364), a countryman turned 

Chap. IV. FERAL BABBITS. - 143 

decreased in length proportionally with the body; and 
the capacity of the brain-case is, as we shall hereafter see, 
singularly variable. I prepared four skulls, and these 
resembled each other more closely than do generally the 
skulls of wild English rabbits ; but the only difference in 
structure which they presented was that the suj>ra-orbital 
processes of the frontal bones were narrower. 

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

The two little Porto Santo rabbits, whilst alive in the 
Zoological Gardens, had a remarkably different appear- 
ance from the common kind. They were extraordinarily 
wild and active, so that many persons exclaimed on seeing 
them that they were more like large rats than rabbits. 
They were nocturnal to an unusual degree in their habits, 


and their wildness was never in the least subdued ; so 
that the superintendent, Mr. Bartlett, assured me that he 
had never had a wilder animal under his charge. This 
is a singular fact, considering that they are descended 
from a domesticated breed ; I was so much surprised at 
it, that I requested Mr. Haywood to make inquiries on 
the sj:>ot, whether they were much hunted by the inhabi- 
tants, 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 Zoo- 
logical 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 originated since the year 1420. Fi- 
nally, from the three cases of the rabbits which have run 
wild in Porto Santo, Jamaica, and the Falkland Islands, 
we see that these animals do not, under new conditions of 
life, revert to or retain their aboriginal character, as is so 
generally asserted to be the case by most authors. 


Osteological Characters. 

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

As a standard of comparison, I prepared skeletons of two wild rab- 
bits from Kent, one from tlie Shetland Islands, and one from Antrim 
in Ireland. As all the bones in these four specimens from such dis- 
tant localities closely resembled each other, presenting scarcely any 
appreciable difference, it may be concluded that the bones of the 
wild rabbit are general]^* uniform in character. 

Skull. — I have carefully examined skulls of ten large lop-eared fan- 
cy 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 rab- 
bits : in all these the skull is remarkably elongated in comparison 
with its breadth. In a wild rabbit the length was 3'15 inches, in a 
large fancy rabbit 430 ; whilst the breadth of the cranium enclosing 
the brain was in both almost exactly the same. Even by taking as the 
standard of comparison the widest part of the zygomatic arch, the 


skulls of the lop-eared are proportionally to their breadth three- 
quarters of an inch too long. The depth of the head has increased 
almost in the same proportion with the length ; it is the breadth 
alone which has not increased. The parietal and occipital bones en- 
closing the brain are less arched, both in a longitudinal and trans-* 
verse line, than in the wild rabbit, so that the shape of the cranium 
is somewhat different. The surface is rougher, less cleanly sculp- ' 
tured, 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 elon- 
gated. 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 stand- 
ard 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 tliird of an inch. 
In the small feral P. Santo rabbit, on the other hand, the head rela- 
tively to the length of the body is about a quarter of an inch too 

This elongation of the skull relatively to its breadth, I find a uni- 
versal 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 explana- 
tion seems to he in the circumstance that during a number of gen- 
erations the artificial races have been closely confined, and have had 
little occasion to exert either their senses, or intellect, or voluntary 
muscles ; consequently the brain, as we shall presently more fully 
see, has not increased relatively with the size of body. As the brain 
has not increased, the bony case enclosing it has not increased, and 
this has evidently affected through correlation the breadth of the 
entire skull from end to end. 

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 jnore upwards. In the 
zygomatic arch the posterior or projecting point of the malar-bone 
is broader and blunter ; and in the specimen, fig. 8 ; it is so in a 
remarkable degree. This point approaches nearer to the auditory 
meatus than in the wild rabbit, as may be best seen in fig. 8 ; but 
this circumstance mainly depends on the changed direction of the 
meatus. The inter-parietal bone (see fig. 9) differs much in shape 
in the several skulls ; generally it is more oval, or has a greater 
width in the line of the longitudinal axis of the skull, than in the 


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

FJg. 7. — Skull of large Lop-eared Rabbit, of natu- 
ral size. 

wild rabbit. The posterior margin of "the square raised plat- 
form" 25 of the occiput, instead of being truncated, or projecting 
slightly as in the wild rabbit, is in most lop-eared rabbits pointed, 

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



Chap. IV. 

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

as in fig. 9, C. The paramas- 
toids relatively to the size of 
the skull are generally niuch 
thicker than in the wild rab- 

The occipital foramen (fig. 
10) presents some remarkable 
differences : in the wild rabbit, 
the lower edge between the 
condyles is considerably and 
almost angularly hollowed out, 
and the upper edge is deeply 
and squarely notched ; hence 
the longitudinal axis exceeds 
the transverse axis. In the 
skulls of the lop-eared rabbits 
the transverse axis exceeds the 
longitudinal ; for in none of 
these skulls was the lower edge 
between the condyles so deeply 
hollowed out ; in five of them there was no upper square notch, in 
three there was a trace of the notch, and in two alone it was well 
ABC developed. These differ- 

ences in the shape of the 
foramen are remarkable, 
considering that it gives 
passage to so important 
a structure as the spinal 
marrow, though appa- 
rently the outline of the 
latter is not affected by 
the shape of the passage. 
In all the skulls of the 
large lop-eared rabbits, the bony auditory meatus is conspicuously 
larger than in the wild rabbit. In a skull 43 inches in length, and 

which barely exceeded 
A 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 ori- 

Fig. 10.— Occipital Foramen of natural size, in— nce is more compressed, 
A. Wild Rabbit ; B. Large Lop-eared Rabbit. and its margin on the 

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. 



side nearest the skull stands up higher than the outer side. The 
whole meatus is directed more forwards. As in breeding lop-eared 
rabbits the length of the ears, and their consequent lopping and ly- 
ing flat on the face, are the 
chief points of excellence, 
there can hardly be a doubt 
that the great change in 
the size, fomi, and direction 
of the bony meatus, rela- 
tively to this same part in 
the wild rabbit, is due to 
the continued selection of 
individuals having larger 
and larger ears. The influ- 
ence 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 affect- 
ed 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 projects beyond the right one ; both the posterior and anterior 
margins of the left zygomatic arch on the side of the lopping ear 
stand a little in advance of the corresponding bones on the opposite 
side. Even the lower jaw is affected, and the condyles are not quite 

Fig. 11.— Skull of natural size of Half-lop Rab- 
bit, showing the different direction of the au- 
ditory meatus on the two sides, and the con- 
sequent general distortion of the skull. The 
left ear of the animal (or right side of the fig- 
ure) lopped forwards. 


symmetrical, that on the left standing a little in advance of that 
on the right. This seems to me a remarkable case of correlation 
of growth. Who would have surmised that by keeping an animal 
during many generations under confinement, and so leading to the 
disuse of the muscles of the ears, and by continually selecting indi- 
viduals 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 mo- 
lar teeth have increased in size proportionally with the increased 
width of the skull, measured across the zygdhiatic arch, and not 
proportionally with its increased length. The inner line of the 
sockets of the molar teeth in the upper jaw of the wild rabbit forms 
a perfectly straight line ; but in some of the largest skulls of the 
lop-eared this line was plainly bowed inwards. In one specimen 
there was an additional molar tooth on each side of the upper jaw, 
between the molars and premolars ; but these two teeth did not 
correspond in size ; and as no rodent has seven molars, this is merely 
a monstrosity, though a curious one. 

The five other skulls of common domestic rabbits, some of which 
approach in'size the above-described largest skulls, whilst the others 
exceed but little those of the wild rabbit, are only worth notice as 
presenting a perfect gradation in all the above-specified differences 
between the skulls of the largest lop-eared and wild rabbits. In all, 
however, the supra-orbital plates are rather larger, and in all the 
auditory meatus is larger, in conformity with the increased size of the 
external ears, than in the wild rabbit. The lower notch in the oc- 
cipital 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 inter- 
mediate 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 rabits 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 skele- 
tons were coloured almost like hares, and as these latter animals 
and rabbits have, as it is affirmed, been recently crossed in France, 
it might be thought that some of the above-described characters 
had been derived from a cross at a remote period with the hare. 
Consequently I examined skulls of the hare, but no light could thus 
be thrown on the peculiarities of the skulls of the larger rabbits. It 
is, however, an interesting fact, as illustrating the law that varieties 
of one species often assume the characters of other species of the 
same genus, that I found, on comparing the skulls of ten species of 
hares. in the British Museum, that they differed from each other 
chiefly in the very same points in which domestic rabbits, vary, — 
namely, in general proportions, in the form and size of the supra- 
orbital plates, in the form of the free end of the malar bone, and in 
the line of suture separating the occipital and frontal bones. More- 
over 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. 

Vertebra. — The number is uni- 
form in all the skeletons which I 
have examined, with two excep- 
tions, 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, in- 
stead of seven lumbar, both had 
eight lumbar vertebra?. This is re- 
markable, as Gervais gives seven 
as the number for the whole genus 
Lepus. The caudal vertebra? appa- 
rently 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 process ; I have figured a specimen with the 
largest process (a) which I have seen ; but it will be observed how 

Fig. 12. — Atla9 Vertebrae, of natural 
size; inferior surface viewed ob- 
liquely. Upper figure, Wild Rabbit. 
Lower figure, Hare-coloured, large 
Lop-eared Rabbit, o, supra-median, 
atlantoid process ; b, infra-median 



Chap. IV. 

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 pro- 
portionally much thicker and longer. The alse 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 vertebra, as in the fourth of the wild 
rabbit. But the third cervical vertebrae of the wild and lop- 
eared (a 6, B b) rabbits 
differ more conspicuous- 
ly when their anterior 
articular surfaces are 
compared ; for the ex- 
tremities of the antero- 
dorsal processes in the 
wild rabbit are simply 
rounded, whilst in the 
lop-eared they are trifid, 
with a deep central pit. 
The canal for the spinal 
marrow in' the lop-eared 
(b b is more elongated 
in a transverse direction 
than in the wild rabbit ; 
and the passages for the 

arteries are of a slightly different shape. These several differences 
in this vertebra seem to me well deserving attention. 

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

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 the neural spine of the tenth is plainly thicker and 
shorter than those of all the anterior vertebra?. 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 thick- 
er, and of somewhat different shape, in comparison with those of the 
wild rabbit. So that this part of the vertebral column differs con- 
siderably in appearance from the same part in the wild rabbit, and 

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


closely resembles in an interesting manner these same vertebrae in 
some species of bares. In the Angora, Cbinchilla, and Himalayan 

rabbits, the 
neural spines 
of the eighth 
and ninth ver- 
tebra? are in a 
slight degree 
thicker than in 
the wild. On 
the other hand, 
in one of the 
feral Porto San- 
to rabbits, 
which in most 
of its characters 
deviates in an 
exactly oppo- 
site manner to 
what the large 
lop-eared rab- 
bits do from 

the common wild rabbit, the neural spines of the ninth and tenth 
vertebra? 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 vertebra. — I have stated that in two cases there were 
eight instead of seven lumbar vertebrae. The third lumbar ver- 
tebra in one skeleton of a wild British rabbit, and in one of the 
Porto Santo feral rabbits, had a haemal spine ; whilst in four skele- 
tons of large lop-eared rabbits, and in the Himalayan rabbit, this 
same vertebra had a well-developed haemal spine. 

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

38 These rabbits have run wild for a 
considerable#ime 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. 

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

I 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 leflj- 
hand angle of the upper 
articular extremity of B 
was broken, and has been 
accidentally thus repre- 

C D 

Fig. 16. — 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 sharp- 
ness, 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 develq^ed into a 
short bar, forming an obtuse angle with the rectangular bar. In 
another specimen (c) these two unequal bars form nearly a straight 
line. The apex of the acromion varies much in breadth and sharp- 
ness, 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 skele- 
tons 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 
vetebra 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, palaeonto- 
logists would have declared without hesitation that they 
had belonged to distinct species. 

Tlie 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 ; consequently in due proportion to the weight of 
body which they have to support. If we take the length of the 
body as the standard of comparison, the limbs of the large rabbits 
have not increased in length in due proportion by one inch, or by 
one inch and a half. Again, if we take as the standard of compari- * 
son the length of the skull, which, as we Ifave before seen, has not 
increased in length in due proportion to the length of the body, the 
limbs will be found to be, proportionally with those of the wild rab- 
bit, from half to three-quarters of an inch too short. Hence, what- 
ever 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 frstme ; and this, 


I presume, may be accounted for by tbe 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 the bodies of four wild rabbits, and of four large but 
not fattened lop-eared rabbits, I find that on an average the wild 
are to the lop-eared in weight as 1 to 2 - 17 ; in average length of 
body as 1 to 1*41 ; whilst in capacity of skull (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 in- 
creased 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 mea- 
surements 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 necessary to have some standard by which to 
compare the capacities of their skulls. I have selected the length 
of skull as the best standard, for in the larger rabbits it has not, as 
already stated, increased in length so much as the body ; but as the 
skull, like every other part, varies in length, neither it nor any 
other part affords a perfect 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 recortl 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 

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, 1S4S, p. 8. 


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 fe"w 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 fheir skulls, we see 
that in No. 1 the skull is 315 inches in length, and in No. 5 296 
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 yii), 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 Tabbit No. 1, to have been 4 per cent, 
heavier. I have taken the rabbit No. 1 as the standard of compari- 
son because, of the skulls having a full average length, this has 
the least capacity ; so that it is the least favourable to the result 
which I wish to show, namely, that the brain in all long-domesti- 
cated rabbits has decreased in size, either actually, or relatively to 
the length of the head and body, in comparison with the brain of 
the wild rabbit. Had I taken the Irish rabbit, No. 3, as the stan- 
dard, the following results would have • been somewhat more 

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 (No. 4) is interesting, as, though now wild, it is known to be 
descended from a domesticated breed, as is still shown by its pecu- 
liar 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 les- 
sened 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 measure- 
ments 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 in- 
creased 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 com- 
mon 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 consi- grains as the weight of the brain of a 

derably too low, for Dr. Crisp. (' Proc. rabbit which weighed 3 lbs. 5 oz., that 

Zoolog. Soc.,' 1SG1, p. S6) gives 210 grains is, the same weight as the rabbit No. 1 

as the actual weight of the brain of a in my list. Now the contents of the 

hare which weighed 7 lbs., and 125 skull of rabbit No. 1 in shot is in my 


I have previously remarked that, if we had possessed many do- 
mestic 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) ase only a little larger in body, and have skulls only a 
little longer, than the wild animal, and we sec that the actual ca- 
pacity of their skulls is less than in the wild animal, and considera- 
bly 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 ani- 
mal than the wild rabbit, yet the capacity of its skull only slightly 
exceeds that of the wild rabbit. The Angora rabbit, No. 13, offers 
the most remarkable case ; this animal in its pure white colour and 
length of silky fur bears the stamp of long domesticity. It has a 
considerably longer head and body than the wild rabbit, but the 
actual capacity of its skull is less than that of even the little wild 
Porto Santo rabbits. By the standard of the length of skull the 
capacity (see column 7) is only half of what it ought to have been ! 
I kept this individual animal alive, and it was not unhealthy nor 
idiotic. This case of the Angora rabbit so much surprised me, that 
I repeated all the measurements and found them correct. I have 
also compared the capacity of the skull of the Angora with that of 
the wild rabbit by other standards, namely, by the length and 
weight of the body, and by the weight of the limb-bones ; but by 
all these standards the brain appears to be much too small, though 
in a less degree when the standard of the limb-bones was used ; 
and this latter circumstance may probably be accounted for by the 
limbs of this anciently domesticated breed having become much 
reduced in weight, from its long-continued inactive life. Hence I 
infer that in the Angora breed, which is said to differ from other 
breeds in being quieter and more social, the capacity of the skull 
has really undergone a remarkable amount of reduction. 

From the several facts above given, — namely, firstly, 
that the actual capacity of the skull in the Himalayan, 
Moscow, and Angora breeds, is less than in the Avild 
rabbit, though they are in all their dimensions rather 
larger animals ; secondly, that the capacity of the skull 

table 972 grains ; and according to Dr. grains of shot, instead of only (in the 
Crisp's ratio of 125 to 210, the skull of largest hare in my table) 1455 grains, 
the hare ought to have contained 16S2 



Chap. IV. 

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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 third- 
ly, that the capacity of the skull in these same large lop- 
eared rabbits is very inferior to that of the hare, an ani- 
mal of nearly the same size, — I conclude, notwithstand- 
ing 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 propor- 
tion 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 im- 
portant and complicated organ in the whole organization 
is subject to the law of decrease in size from disuse. 

Finally, let us sum up the more important modifica- 
tions 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 
o'f 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 characters proper to 
the tenth and posterior vertebras. The skull in the 
larger breeds has increased in length, but not in due 
proportion with the increased length of body ; the brain 
has not duly increased in dimensions, or has even ac- 
tually 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 pro- 
Cesses of the frontal bones and the free end of the malar 
bones have increased in breadth; and in the -larger breeds 
the occipital forasnen is generally much less deeply 
notched than in wild rabbits. Certain parts of the sca- 
pula and the terminal sternal bones have become highly 
variable in shape. The ears have been increased enormous- 
ly in length and breadth through continued selection; 
their weight, conjoined probably with the disuse of their 
muscles, has caused them to lop downwards ; and this 
has affected the position and form of the bony auditory 
meatus ; and this again, by correlation, the position in a 
slight degree of almost every bone in the upper part of 
the skull, and even the position of the condyles of the 
lower jaw. 







I have been led to study domestic pigeons with particu- 
lar 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 ex- 
traordinarily 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 thetrueness with 
which most of them propagate their kind, will think this 
care superfluous. Notwithstanding the clear evidence 



Chap. V. 

that all the breeds are the descendants of a single species, 
I could not persuade myself until some years' had passed 
that the whole amount of difference between them had 
arisen since man first domesticated the wild rock-pigeon. 

I have kept alive all the most distinct breeds, which I 
could procure in England or from the Continent ; and have 
prepared skeletons of all. I have received skins from 
Persia, and a large number from India and other quarters 
of the world. 1 Since my admission into two of the Lon- 
don pigeon-clubs, I have received the kindest assistance 
from many of the most emdnent 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 col- 
lection imported by an Indian merchant into Madras 

1 The Hon. C. Murray has sent me 
some very valuable specimens from Per- 
sia ; and H.M. Consul, Mr. Keith Ab- 
bott, 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 regard- 
ing them. Mr. Blyth has freely com- 
municated to me his stores of knowledge 
on this and all other related subjects. 
The Rajah Sir James Brooke sent me 
specimens from Borneo, as has H.M. 
Consul, Mr. Swinhoe, from Amoy -in 
China, and Dr. Daniell from the west 
coast of Africa. 

2 Mr. B. P. Brent, well known for his 
various contributions to poultry litera- 
ture, has aided me in every way during 
several years ; so has ^lr. 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 specimens of 
their magnificent Carriers. To Mr. Har- 
rison Weir I am likewise indebted. Nor 
must I by any means pass over the as- 
sistance received from Mr. J. M. Eaton, 
Mr. Baker, Mr. Evans, and Mr. J. Baily, 
jun., of Mount-street — to the latter gen- 
tlemen I have been indebted for some 
valuable specimens. To all these gen- 
tlemen I beg permission to return my 
sincere and cordial thanks. 

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


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 cha- 
racters. 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 sec. I have looked through the 
magnificent collection of the Columbida? m the British 
Museum, and, with the exception of a few forms (such as 
the Didunculus, Calamas, Goura, &c), I do not hesitate 
to affirm that some domestic races of the rock-pigeon 
differ fully as much from each other in external charac- 
ters as do the most distinct natural genera. We may 
look in vain through the 288 known species 4 for a beak 
so small and conical as that of the short-faced tumbler; 
for one so broad and short as that of the barb ; for one 
so long, straight, and narrow, with its enormous wattles, 
as that of the English carrier ; for an expanded upraised 
tail like that of the fantail ; or for an oesophagus like that 
of the pouter. I do not for a moment pretend that the 
domestic races differ from each other in their whole or- 
ganisation 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 prin- 
ciple 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 exter- 
nally visible, characters. 

Owing to the amount and gradations of difference be- 
tween the several breeds, I have found it indispensable in . 
the following classification to rank them under Groups, 

4 'Coup d'Oeil sur l'Ordre des Pi- vis, 1S55. This author makes 288 spe- 
geons,' par Prince C. L. Bonaparte, Pa- cies, ranked under S5 genera. 


Races, and Sub-races ; to which varieties and sub- varie- 
ties, all strictly inheriting their proper characters, must 
often be added. Even with the individuals of the same 
sub-variety, when long kept by different fanciers, differ- 
ent 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 classification of the various domestic breeds is ex- 
tremely difficult, owing to the manner in which many of 
the forms graduate into each other ; but it is curious how 
exactly the same difficulties are encountered, and the 
same rules have to be followed, as in the classification of 
any natural but difficult group of organic beings. An 
" artificial classification " might be followed which would 
present fewer difficulties than a "natural classification ;" 
but then it would interrupt many plain affinities. Ex- 
treme forms can readily be defined ; but intermediate 
and troublesome forms often destroy our definitions. 
Forms which may be called " aberrant" must sometimes 
be included within groups to which they do not accurate- 
ly 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 pos- 
sible 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 sevei'al 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 livia) 


as the standard of comparison. The measurements are 
given in decimals of an inch. 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 com- 
mon 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 modifica- 
tion. The lengths of the dotted lines rudely represent 
the degree of distinctness of each breed from the parent- 
stock, and the names placed under each other in the col- 
umns show the more or less closely connecting links. The 
distances of the dotted lines from each other approximate- 
ly represent the amount of difference between the seve- 
ral breeds. 

6 As I so often refer to the size of the measurements of two wild birds, kindly 
C. livia, or rock-pigeon, it may be con- sent me by Dr. Edmondstone from the 
venient 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 15 - 02 

" of tail feathers 4'6'2 

" from tip to tip of wing 26"75 

" of folded wing 9-25 

Beak. — Length from tip of beak to feathered base - 77 

" Thickness, measured vertically at further end of nostrils - 23 

" Breadth, measured at same place - 16 

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 14X ounces. 



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

6 This drawing was made from a dead meier. It may be confidently asserted 

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

drawn with great care by Mr. Luke Wells which have been figured are not in the 

from living birds selected by Mr. Teget- least exaggerated. 

Chap. V. 



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Dove-cot pigeon. 




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C^AP. V. 

Fig. 18. — English Pouter. 

Gkoup 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 domesticated pigeons. 


Race I. — Pouter Pigeons. (Kropf-tanben, German. 
Grosses-gorges, or boulans, French.) 

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

Sub-race I. — The improved English Pouter, when its crop is fully 
inflated, presents a truly astonisliing 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, ex- 
cept 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 com- 
pletely 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 ex- 
pression, " 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 magnifi- 
cent 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 gene- 
rally broader and the vertebrae more numerous than in other breeds. 
From their manner of standing their legs appear longer than they 
really are, though in proportion with those of C. lima, 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£ inches from 
tip to tip of wing, and 19 inches from tip of beak to end of tail. In 
a wild rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands the same measurements 
gave only 28£ and 14f . 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 ex- 

Sub-race III. The Lille Pouter. — I know this breed only from 
description." 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 characterised by the habit of 
violently hitting its wings together over its back, — a habit which 
the English Pouter has in a slight degree. 

Sub-race IV. Common German Pouter. — I know this bird only 
from the figures and description given by the accurate Neumeister, 
one of the few writers on pigeons who, as I have found, may be al- 
ways trusted. This sub-race seems considerably different. The up- 
per 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 com- 
mon 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 IT. 

This group includes three Races, namely, Carriers, 
Runts, and Barbs, which are manifestly allied to each 
other. Indeed, certain carriers and runts pass into each 
other by such insensible gradations that an arbitrary line 
has to be drawn between them. Carriers also graduate 
through foreign breeds into the rock-pigeon. Yet, if well- 
characterised Carriers and Barbs (see figs. 19 and 20) had 
existed as wild species, no ornithologist would have placed 
them in the same genus with each other or with the rock- 

7 ' Das Ganze der Taubenzucht :' Wei- 8 Boitard and Corbie, * Les Pigeons,' 

mar, 1837, pi. 11 and 12. &c, 177, pi. 6. 


pigeon. This group may, as a general rule, l)e recognised 
by the beak being long, with the skin over the nostrils 
swollen and often carunculated or wattled, and with that 
round the eyes bare and likewise carunculated. The 
mouth is very wide, and the feet are large. Nevertheless 
the Barb, which must be classed in this same group, has a 
very short beak, and some runts have very little bare skin 
round their eyes. 

Race II. — Caheieus. (Tiirkische Taube : Pigeons Turcs : 

Beak elongated, narrow, pointed; eyes surrounded by 
much naked, generally caruncidated s/ci?i / neck and body 

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 14 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 compari- 
son ; and according to this standard, the beak in one Carrier was 
nearly half an inch longer than in the rock-pigeon. The upper 
mandible is often slightly arched. The tongue is very long. The 
development of the carunculated skin or wattle round the eyes, over 
the nostrils, and on the lower mandible is prodigious. The eyelids, 
measured longitudinally, were in some specimens" exactly twice as 
lonjj as in the rock-pigeon. The external orifice or furrow of the 
nostrils was also twice as long. The open mouth in its widest part 
was in one case "75 of an inch in width, whereas in the rock-pigeon 
it is only about '4 of an inch. This great width of mouth is shown 
in the skeleton by the reflexed edges of the ramus of the lower jaw. 
The head is flat on the summit and narrow between the orbits. The 
feet are large and coarse ; the length, as measured from end of hind 
toe to end of middle toe (without the claws), was in two specimens 
20 inches ; and this, proportionally with the rock-pigeon, is an ex- 
cess of nearly a quarter of an iuch. One very fine Carrier measured 
31.V inches from tip to tip of wing. Birds of this sub-race are too 
valuable to be flown as carriers. 



Chap. V. 

Sub-race II. Dragons; Persian Carriers. — The English Dragon 
differs from the improved English Carrier in heing smaller in all 
its dimensions, and in having less wattle round the eyes and over 

the nostrils, and none on the lower mandible. Sir W. Elliot sent 
me from Madras a Bagdad Carrier (sometimes called khandesi), the 
name of which shows its Persian origin ; it would be considered 


here a very poor Dragon ; the body was of the size of the rock- 
pigeon, with the beak a little longer, namely, 1 inch from the tip to 
the feathered base. The skin round the eyes was only slightly 
wattled, whilst that over the nostrils was fairly wattled. The Hon. 
C. Murray, also, sent me two Carriers direct from Persia ; these had 
nearly the same character as the Madras bird, being about as large 
as the rock-pigeon, but the beak in one specimen was as much as 
1'15 in length ; the skin over the nostrils was only moderately, and 
that round the eyes scarcely at all wattled. 

Sub-race III. Bagadotten-Tauben of Neumeister (Pavdotten or 
Hocker-Tauben). — I owe to the kindness of Mr. Baily, jun., a dead 
specimen of this singular breed imported from Germany. It is 
certainly allied to the Runts ; nevertheless, from its close affinity 
with Carriers, it will be convenient here to describe it. The beak 
is long, and is hooked or bowed downwards in a highly remarkable 
manner, as will be seen in 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 proportion to the size of the body the feathers of 
the wing and tail are short ; a wild-rock pigeon of considerably less 
size, had tail-feathers 46 inches in length, whereas in the large 
Bagadotten these feathers were scarcely over 44 inches in length. 
Riedel 9 remarks that it is a very silent bird. 

Sub-race IV. Bussorah Carrier. — Two specimens were sent me 
by Sir W. Elliot from Madras, one in spirits and the other skinned. 
The name shows its Persian origin. It is much valued in India, 
and is considered as a distinct breed from the Bagdad Carrier, 
which forms my second sub-race. At first I suspected that these 
two sub-races might have been recently formed by crosses with 
other breeds, though the estimation in which they are held renders 
this improbable ; but in a Persian treatise, 10 believed to have been 
written about 100 years ago, the Bagdad and Bussorah breeds are 
described as distinct. The Bussorah Carrier is of about the same 
size with the wild rock-pigeon. The shape of the beak, with some 
little carunculated skin over the nostrils, — the much elongated 
eyelids, — the broad mouth measured internally, — the narrow head, — 
the feet proportionally a little longer than in the rock-pigeon, — and 

• 'Die Taubenzucht, 1 Ulm, 1824, s. 42. owe to the great kindness of Sir W. Elliot 
10 This treatise was written by Sayzid a translation of this curious treatise. 
Mohammed Musari, who died in 1770 : I 


the general appearance, all show that this bird is an undoubted 
Carrier; yet in one specimen the beak was of exactly the same 
length as in the rock-pigeon. In the other specimen the beak (as 
well as the opening of the nostrils) was only a very little longer, 
viz. by - 08 of an inch. Although there was a considerable space of 
bare and slightly carunculated skin round the eyes, that over the 
nostrils was only in a slight degree rugose. Sir W. Elliot informs 
me that in the living bird the eye seems remarkably large and 
prominent, and the same fact is noticed in the Persian treatise ; but 
the bony orbit is barely larger than that in the rock-pigeon. 

Amongst the several breeds sent to me from Madras by Sir W. 
Elliot there is a pair of the 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 Race. 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 
Columba Kvia. 

Race III. — Runts. (Scanderoons : DieFlorentiner-Taube 
and Hinkel-Tanbe of Neumeister: Pigeon Bagadais, 
Pigeon Romain.) 

JBeaJc long, massive / body of great size. 

Inextricable confusion reigns in the classification, affinities, and 
naming of Runts. Several characters which are generally pretty 
constant in other pigeons, such as the length of the wings, tail, 
legs, and neck, and the amount of naked skin round the eyes, are 
excessively variable in Runts. When the naked skin over the 
nostrils and round the eyes is considerably developed and wattled, 
and when the size of body is not very great, Runts graduate in so 
insensible a manner into Carriers, that the distinction is quite arbi- 
trary. This fact is likewise shown by the names given to them in 
different parts of Europe. Nevertheless, taking the most distinct 


forms, at least five sub-races (some of tliem including well-marked 
varieties) can be distinguished, which differ in such important points 
of structure, that they would be considered as good species in a state 
of nature. 

Sub-i-ace I. Scanderoon of English tcriters (Die Florentiner and 
Ilinkel-Tauhe of Xeumeister). — Birds of this sub-race, of which I 
kept one alive and have since seen two others, differ from the Baga- 
dotten of Xeumeister only in not having the beak nearly so much 
curved downwards, and in the naked skin round the eyes and over 
the nostrils being hardly at all wattled. Nevertheless I have felt 
myself compelled to place the Bagadotten in Race II., or that of the 
Carriers, and the present bird in Race III., or that of the Runts. 
The Scanderoon has a very short, narrow, and elevated tail ; wings 
extremely short, so that the first primary feathers were not longer 
than those of a small tumbler pigeon ! Neck long, much bowed ; 
breast-bone prominent. Beak long, being 1'15 inch from tip to 
feathered base ; vertically thick ; slightly curved downwards. The 
skin over the nostrils swollen, not wattled ; naked skin round the 
eyes, broad, slightly carunculated. Legs long , feet very large. 
Skin of neck bright red, often showing a naked medial line, with a 
naked red patch at the 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 four inches in length, whereas in the rock-pigeon, which 
is a much smaller bird, the tail is 4f inches in length. 

The Hinkel or Flore ntiner-Taube of Xeumeister (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 re- 
markably long and bowed ; so that the Hinkel forms a well-marked 

Sub-race II. Pigeon Cygne and Pigeon Bagadais of Boitard and. 
Corbie (Scanderoon of French writers). — I kept two of these birds 
aUve, 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-J- 
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 6J inches 
in length, and therefore 2J inches longer than that of the Scande- 
roon, — 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 285 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 separation. They are heavy, massive birds, with shorter 
necks, legs, and beaks than in the foregoing races. The skin over 
the nostrils is swollen, but not carunculated ; the naked skin round 
the eyes is not very wide, and only slightly carunculated ; and I 
have seen a fine so-called Spanish Runt with hard]y any naked skin 
round the eyes. Of the two varieties to be seen in England, one, 
which is the rarer, has very long wings and tail, and agrees pretty 
chosely with the last sub-race ; the other, with shorter wings and 
tail, is apparently the Pigeon Romain ordinaire of Boitard and 
Corbie. These Runts are apt to tremble like Fantails. They are 
bad flyers. A few years ago Mr. Gulliver n exhibited a Runt which 
weighed 1 lb. 14 oz. ; and, as I am informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, 
two Runts from the south of France were lately exhibited at the 
Crystal Palace, each of which weighed 2 lbs. 2-J- oz. A very fine 
rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands weighed only 14^ oz. 

Sub-race IV. Tronfo of Aldrovandi (Leghorn Runt ?). — In Aldro- 
vandi'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 representa- 
tion from bad drawing ; but Moore, in his work published in 1735, 
says that he possessed a Leghorn Runt of which " the beak was 
very short for so large a bird." In other respects Moore's bird re- 
sembled the first sub-race of 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 rne that he has seen in 
Madras a short-beaked Runt imported from Cairo. 

Sub-race V. Murassa (adorned Pigeon) of Madras. — Skins of these 
handsome chequered birds were sent me from Madras by Sir W. 
Elliot. They are rather larger than the largest rock-pigeon, with 
longer and more massive beaks. The skin over the nostrils is 

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


rather full and very slightly carunculated, and they have some 
naked skin round the eyes : feet large. This hreed is intermediate 
between the rock-pigeon and a very poor variety of Runt or Car- 

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

Race IV. — Barbs. (Indische-Taube : Pigeons Polonais.) 

Heak short, broad, deep; naked skin round, the eyes, 
broad and carunculated / skin over nostrils slightly 

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

Fanciers, with some truth, compare the head and beak of the 
Barb to that of a bullfinch. The Barb, if found in a state of nature, 
would certainly have been placed in a new genus formed for its re- 
ception. 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, 



Chap. V. 

it is both vertically and horizontally thicker. From the outward 
flexure of the rami of the lower jaw, the mouth internally is very 


broad, iu the proportion of "G 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 carunculated. It is 
sometimes so much developed, that a bird belonging to Mr. Harri- 
son 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 
darkand uniform. Barbs, in short, may be called short-beaked Car- 
riers, bearing the same relation to Carriers that the Tronfo of Aldro- 
vandi does to the common Runt. 

Group III. 

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

Race V. — Fantails. 

Sub-race I. European Fanta&a (Pfauen-Taube j Trembleurs). Tail 
expanded, directed upwards, formed of many feathers; oil-gland 
aborted ; body and beak rather short. 

The normal number of tail-feathers in the genus Columba is 12 ; 
but Fantails have from only 12 (as has been asserted) up to, ac- 
cording 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 im- 
perfect tail 34 feathers. In Madras, as I am informed by Sir W. 
Elliot, 32 is the standard number ; but in England number is much 
less valued than the position and expansion of the tail. The feath- 
ers are arranged in an irregular double row ; their permanent ex- 
pansion, 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 
other pigeons ; and in three skeletons there were one or two extra 
coccygeal vertebra?. I have examined many specimens of various 

:2 ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' vol. xix., 1?4T, p. 105. 



Ceap. V. 

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 

13 This gland occurs in most birds ; 1S40, p. 55) states that it is absent in two 
but Nitzsch (in his ' Pterylographie,' species of Columba, in several sp»cies of 


bowed backwards. Tbe breast is broad and protuberant. Tbe fest 
are small. The carriage of tbe bird is very different from that of 
other pigeons ; in good birds the head touches the tail-feathers, 
which consequently often become crumpled. They habitually trem- 
ble much ; and their necks have an extraordinary, apparently con- 
vulsive, 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 vari- 
eties 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 move- 
ments of the neck, in the manner of walking, and in the breadth 
of the breast, the differences so graduate away, that it is impossi- 
ble 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 

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

Psittaeus, in some species of Otis, and in namely 16, and in this respect resemble 

most or all birds of the Ostrich family. Fantails. 

It can hardly be an accidental coinci- ' •'Seethe two excellent editions pub- 

dence that the two species of Columba, lished by Mr. J. M. Eaton in 1S52 and 

which are destitute of an oil-gland, have 1S5S, entitled ' A Treatise on Fancy 

*n unusual number of tail-feathers, Pigeons.' 


Race VI. — Tuebit and Owl. (Moven-Taube : Pigeons 
a cravate.) 

Feathers divergent along the front of the neck and 
breast ; beak very short, vertically rather thick ; cesopha- 
gus someiohat 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 irregularly diverging, like a frill, along the 
front of the neck, in the same manner, but in a less degree, as along 
the back of the neck in the Jacobin. This bird has the remarkable 
habit of continually and momentarily inflating the upper part of 
the oesophagus, which causes a movement in the frill. 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. 

Race VII. — Tumbleks. (Ttimmler, or Burzel-Tauben: 


During fight, tumble backwards; body generally 
small; beak generally short, sometimes excessively short 
and conical. 

This Race may be divided into four sub-races, namely, Persian, 
Lotan, Common, and Short-faced Tumblers. These sub-races in- 
clude 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 

Chap. V. 



dovecot-pigeon, white and mottled, slightly feathered on the feet, 
with the beak j ust 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 tum- 
ble to the ground, in which respect they resemble some of our 

Sub-race II Lolan, or Lowtun : 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 proportion- 
ally only slightly shorter and rather thinner than in the rock-pigeon. 
These birds when gently shaken and placed on the ground immedi- 
ately 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 de- 
scribed in the 'Ayeen Akbery.' 15 Mr. Evans kept a pair in London, 
imported by Captain Vigne ; and he assures me that he has seen 
them tumble in the air, as well as in the manner above described 
on the ground. Sir W. Elliot, however, writes to me from Madras, 
that he is informed that they tumble exclusively on the ground, 
or at a very small height above it. He also mentions 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 ex- 
actly 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 proportion- 
ally with the size of body, the beak is from "15 to nearly - 2 of an 
inch shorter, but it is not thinner. There are several varieties of the 
common Tumbler, namely, Baldheads, Beards, and Dutch Rollers. 
I have kept the latter alive ; they have differently shaped heads, 

15 EDgHsh translation, by F. Gladwin, present. Mr. Blyth describes these birds 

4th edition, vol. i. The habit of the Lo- in ' Aunals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. 

tan is also described in the Persian trea- xiv., 1S47, p. 104 : he says that they 

tise before alluded to, published about " may be seen at any of the Calcutta 

100 years ago: at this date the Lotans bird-dealers." 
were generally white and crested as at 


longer necks, and are feather-footed. They tumble to an extraor- 
dinary degree ; as Mr. Brent remarks, 16 " Every few seconds over they 
" go ; one, two, or three summersaults at a time. Here and there a bird 
" gives a very quick and rapid spin, revolving like a wheel, though 
"they sometimes lose their balance, and make a rather ungraceful 
" fall, in which they occasionally hurt themselves by striking some 
"object." From Madras I have received several specimens of the 
common Tumbler of India, differing slightly from each other in the 
length of their beaks. Mr. Brent sent me a dead specimen of a 
" House-tumbler," " which is a Scotch variety, not differing in gen- 
eral appearance and form of beak from the common Tumbler. Mr. 
Brent states that these birds generally begin to tumble " almost as soon 
" as they can well fly ; at three months old they tumble well, but still 
" fly strong ; at five or six months they tumble excessively ; and in 
" the second year they mostly give up flying, on account of their 
" tumbling so much and so close to the ground. Some fly round with 
" the flock, throwing a clean summersault every few yards, till they 
"are obliged to settle from giddiness and exhaustion. These are 
" called Air Tumblers, and they commonly throw from twenty to 
" thirty sumrnersavdts 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 fly- 
" ing, for if they fly a few yards over they go, and roll till they 
" reach the ground. Thus I had one kill herself, and another broke 
" his leg. Many of them turn over only a few inches from the ground, 
" and will tumble two or three times in flying across their loft. These 
" are called House-Tumblers, from tumbling in the house. The act 
" of tumbling seems to be one over which they have no control, an 
" involuntary movement which they seem to try to prevent. I have 
" seen a bird sometimes in his struggles fly a yard or two straight 
" upwards, the impulse forcing him backwards while he struggles 
" to go forwards. If suddenly startled, or in a strange place, they 
" seem less able to fly than if quiet in their accustomed loft." These 
House-tumblers differ from the Lotan or Ground Tumbler of India, 
in not requiring to be shaken in order to begin tumbling. The 
breed has probably been formed merely by selecting the best com- 

14 'Journal of Horticulture,' Oct. 22, Gardener,' 1S5S, p. 285. Also Mr. Brent's 

1S61, p. 76. paper, 'Journal of Horticulture,' 1861, p. 

17 See the account of the House-tum- 76. 
biers kept at Glasgow, in the ' Cottage 



Chap. V. 

mon Tumblers, though it is possible that they may have been crossed 
at some former period with Lotans. 


dub-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 Coluinbida?. 
Their heads are nearly globular and upright 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. Es- 
quilant possessed a blue Baldhead, two years old, which when alive 
weighed, before feeding-time, only G oz. 5 drs. ; two others each 
weighed 7 oz. We have seen that a wild rock-pigeon weighed 14 
oz. 2 drs., and a Runt 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-pigeons, they ought of course 
to have shorter beaks ; but proportionally with the size of the body, 
the beak is '28 of an inch too short. So, again, the feet of this bird 
were actually "46 shorter, and proportionally 21 of an inch shorter, 
than the feet of the rock-pigeon. The middle toe has only twelve or 
thirteen, instead of fourteen or fifteen scutellse. The primary wing- 
feathers are not rarely only nine instead of ten in number. The im- 
proved short-faced Tumblers have almost lost the power of tum- 
bling ; 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 the perfectly-coloured plumage until they have moulted 
three or four times. There is good reason to believe that most of 
these sub-varieties, some of which breed truly, have arisen since the 
publication of Moore's treatise in 1735. 19 

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

18 J. M. Eaton's ' Treatise on Pigeons,' ,9 J. M. Eaton's Treatise, edit. 1S58, 

1852, p. 9. p. 76. 


Race VIII. — Indian Frill-back. 

Beak very short y feathers reversed. 

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

Race IX. — Jacobin. (Zopf or Peril cken-Taube : Non- 

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

This pigeon can at once be recognised by its hood, almost enclos- 
ing 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 1£ 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 2£ inches too 
long, and the two wings, from tip to tip, 5£ inches too long. In 
disposition this bird is singularly quiet, seldom flying or moving 
about, as Bechstein and Riedel have likewise remarked in Ger- 
many. 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. 

?° Neumeister, 'Taubenzucht,' Tab. 4, 26. Bechstein,' Naturgeschichte Deutsch. 
g. i. lands,' Band iv. s. 36, 1795. 

81 Riedel, ' Die Taubenzucht,' 1824, 8. 


Group IV. 

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

Race X. — Trumpeter. (Trommel-Taube ; Pigeon tam- 
bour ; glougou.) 

A tuft of feathers at the base of the beak curling for- 
ward ; f:<:t much feathered y voice very peculiar ; size ex- 
ceeding that of the rock-pigeon. 

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

Race XI. — Scarcely differing in structure from the icild 
Columba livia. 

Sub-race I. Laughers. Size less tlian the Rock-pigeon ; voice very 
peculiar. — As this bird agrees in nearly all its proportions with the • 
rock-pigeon, though of smaller size, I should not have thought it 
worthy of mention, had it not been for its peculiar voice — a cha- 
racter 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." Yabu, yahu, means Oh God, Oh God ; 
and Sayzid Mohammed Musari, in the treatise written about 100 
years ago, says that these birds " are not flown, because they repeat 
the name of the Most High God." Mr. Keith Abbott, however, in- 
forms 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 Rock-pigeon ; feathers reversed. — This is a con- 
siderably larger bird than the rock-pigeon, and with the beak, pro- 
portionally with the size of body, a little (viz. by *04 of an inch) 
longer. The feathers, especially on the wing-coverts, have their 
points curled upwards or backwards. 

Sub-race III. Nuns (Pigeons-coquilles). — These elegant birds are 
smaller than the rock-pigeon. The beak is actually - 17, and pro- 
portionally 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 scutellse on the tarsi and toes are generally of a leaden-black 
colour ; and this is a remarkable character (though observed in a 
lesser degree in some other breeds), as the colour of the legs in the 
adult state is subject to very little variation in any breed. I have 
on two or three occasions counted thirteen or fourteen feathers in 
the tail ; this likewise occurs in the barely distinct breed called 
Helmets. Nuns are symmetrically coloured, with the head, primary 
wing-feathers, tail, and tail-coverts of the same colour, namely, 
black or red, and with the rest of the body white. This breed has 
retained the same character since Aldrovandi wrote in 1600. I have 
received from Madras almost similarly colored birds. 

Sub-race IV. Spots (Die Blass-Taube : Pigeons heurtes). — These 
birds are a very little larger than the rock- pigeon, with the beak a 
trace smaller in all its dimensions, and with the feet decidedly 
smaller. They are symmetrically coloured, with a spot on the fore- 
head, with the tail and tail-coverts of the same colour, the rest of 
the body being white. This breed existed in 1676 ; 22 and in 1735 
Moore remarks that they breed truly, as is the case at the present 
Sub-race V. Swallows. — These birds, as measured from tip to tip 

22 WillougUby's 'Ornithology,' edited by Ray. 


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

Besides the several breeds now described, three or four other very 
distinct kinds existed lately, or perhaps still exist, in Germany and 
France. Firstly, the Karmeliten, or Carme Pigeon, which I have not 
seen ; it is described as of small size with very short legs, and with 
an extremely short beak. Secondly, the Finnikin, which is now 
extinct in England. It had, according to Moore's 23 treatise, pub- 
lished in 1735, a tuft of feathers on the hinder part of the head, 
which ran down its back not unlike a horse's mane. " When it is 
salacious it rises over the hen and turns round three or four times, 
flapping its wings, then reverses and turns as many times the other 
way." The Turner, on the other hand, when it " plays to the 
female, turns only one way." Whether these extraordinary state 
ments 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 pi- 
geon 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 face of a Finnikin in the British Museum 
presents no well-marked character. Thirdly, a singular pigeon with 
a forked tail is mentioned in some treatises ; and as Bechstein * briefly 
describes and figures this bird, with a tail " having completely the 
structure of that of the house-swallow," it must once have existed, 
for Bechstein was far too good a naturalist to have confounded any 
distinct species with the domestic pigeon. Lastly, an extraordinary 
pigeon imported from Belgium has lately been exhibited at the 

23 J. M. Eaton's edition (1858) of geons,' &c, p. 165. 
Moore, p. 98. 25 ' Naturgescb. Deutscblands,' Band 

*« Pigeon Patu Plongeur. ' Lea Pi- Iv. s. 47. 



Pliiloperisteron Society in London, 26 which "conjoins the colour of 
an archangel with the head of an owl or barb, its most striking 
peculiarity being the extraordinary length of the tail and wing- 
feathers, the latter crossing beyond the tail, and giving to the bird 
the appearance of a gigantic swift (Cypselns), or long-winged 
hawk." Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that this bird weighed only 
10 ounces, but in length was 15J inches from tip of beak to end of 
tail, and 32^ inches from tip to tip of wing ; now the wild rock- 
pigeon weighs 14^ ounces, and measures from tip of beak to end of 
tail 15 inches, and from tip to tip of wing only 26| 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 in- 
herited varieties ; so that altogether there must exist, as 
previously stated, above 150 kinds which can be dis- 
tinguished, though generally by characters of extremely 
slight importance. Many of the genera of the Colum- 
bidse, which are admitted by ornithologists', do not dif- 
fer 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 gene- 
ra. Thus, a new genus would have been formed for the 
reception of the improved English Pouter: a second 
genus for Carriers and Runts ; and this would have been 
a wide or comprehensive genus, for it would have ad- 
mitted common Spanish Runts without any wattle, short- 
beaked Runts like the Tronfo, and the improved English 
Carrier: a third genus would have been formed for the 
Barb : a fourth for the Fantail : and lastly, a fifth for the 

26 Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier, ' Journal of Horticulture,' Jan. 20th, 1863, p. 58. 


short-beaked, not-wattled pigeons, such, as Turbits and 
short-faced Tumblers. The remaining domestic forms 
might have been included in the same genus with the 
wild rock-pigeon. 

Individual Variability • Variations of a remarkable 

The differences which we have as yet considered are 
characteristic of distinct breeds ; but there are other dif- 
ferences, either confined to individual birds, or often ob- 
served 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 to- 
gether by correlation of groAvth, that a change in one 
part is frequently accompanied by other changes. For 
our purpose, modifications of all kinds are equally im- 
portant, and, if affecting a part which does not common- 
ly vary, are of more importance than a modification in 
some conspicuous part. At the present day any visible 
deviation of character in a well-established breed is re- 
jected 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 Columbida?, which 
never (as far as I can hear) have less than twelve or more than 
sixteen tail-feathers ; and these numbers characterise, with rare ex- 
ception, whole sub-families. 27 The wild rock-pigeon has twelve tail- 
feathers. With Fantails, as we have seen, the number varies from 
fourteen to forty-two. In two young birds in the same nest I 
counted twenty-two and twenty-seven feathers. Pouters are very 
liable to have additional tail-feathers, and I have seen on several oc- 
casions fourteen or fifteen in my own birds. Mr. Bult had a speci- 
men, 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 haA T e 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, de- 
scended 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 Co- 
lumbidse, 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 

27 'Coup-d'oeilsurl'Ordredes Pigeons,' allied to each other, one should have 

par C. L. Bonaparte (Comptes Kendus), fourteen tail-feathers, while the other, 

1854-55. Mr-. Blyth, in ' Annals of Nat. the passenger pigeon of North America, 

Hist.,' vol. xix.,lS47, p. 41, mentions, as should possess but the usual number — 

a very singular fact, " that of the two twelve." • 
species of Ectopistes, which are nearly 


had eleven primaries in both wings. I have seen eleven in ono- 
■wing in two Pouters. I have been assured by three fanciers that 
they have seen twelve in Scanderoons ; but as Nenmeister asserts 
that in the allied Florence Runt the middle flight-feather is often 
double, the number twelve may have been caused by two of the ten 
primaries having each two shafts to a single feather. The second- 
ary wing-feathers are difficult to count, but the number seems to 
vary from twelve to fifteen. /The length of the wing and tail rela- 
tively 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 coxdd hardly 
play upright. In the relative length of the few first primaries I 
have observed only a slight degree of variability. Mr. Brent in- 
forms me that he has observed the shape of the first feather to vary 
very slfghtly. But the variation in these latter points is extremely 
slight compared with what may often be observed in the natural 
species of the Columbidse. 

In the beak I have observed very considerable differences in birds 
of the same breed, as in carefully bred Jacobins and Trumpeters. 
In Carriers there is often a conspicuous difference in the degree of 
attenuation and curvature of the beak. So it is indeed in many 
breeds : thus I had two strains of black Barbs, which evidently dif- 
fered 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 ex- 
ception of the sub-race from Java), and, I may add, so hereditary is 
this tendency to abortion, that some, although not all, of the mon- 
grels 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 

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 indi- 
vidual ; the Shetland rock-pigeon has fifteen on the middle, and six 
on the hinder toe ; whereas I have seen a Runt with sixteen on the 
middle, and eight on the hind toe ; and a short- faced Tumbler with 
only twelve and five on these same toes. The rock-pigeon has no 
sensible amount of skin between its toes ; but I possessed a Spot and 
a Nun with the skin extending for a spac e 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, ap- 
proaching 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 men- 
tion 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 pecu- 
liarity : from these two birds he bred others similarly characterised, 
which were exhibited at the Philoperisteron Club. I bred a mon- 
grel 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- 
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-feath- 
ers, the carriage of the body, and the degree of trembling 

28 Described and figured in the ' Poul- Brent, 1859, p. 41. 

try Chronicle,' vol. iii., 1855, p. 82. 30 ' Die Staarhalsige Taube, 

29 'The Pigeon Book,' by Mr. B. P. Ganze, &c.,' s. 21, tab. i. fig. 4. 


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 Trumpet- 
ers, 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 

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 Car- 
riers, when the males and females are exhibited in sepa- 
rate pens, the wattle is plainly seen to be much more de- 
veloped in the males, though I have seen a hen Carrier 
belonging to Mr. Haynes heavily wattled. Mr. Teget- 
meier 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 excel- 
lently ; but this is an unusual circumstance. Mr. Harri- 
son Weir, a successful breeder of prize 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 al- 

Sl ' A Treatise on the Almond Turn- sim. 
bier,' by J. M. Eaton, 1852, p. 8, et pas- 32 A Treatise, 4c., p. 10. 


ways pair, so that an equal number of both sexes is ne- 
cessary for reproduction, this seems to show that high 
merit is rarer in the female than in the male. In the de- 
velopment of the frill in Turbits, of the hood in Jacobins, 
of the tuft in Trumpeters, of tumbling in Tumblers, there 
is no difference between the males and females. I may 
here add'a rather different case, namely, the existence in 
France 33 of a wine-coloured variety of the Pouter, in 
which the male is generally chequered with black, whilst 
the female is never so chequered. Dr. Chapuis also re- 
marks 34 that in certain light-coloured pigeons the males 
have their feathers striated with black, and these stria? 
increase in size at each moult, so that the male ultimately 
becomes spotted with black. With Carriers, the wattle, 
both on the beak and round the eyes, and with Barbs 
that round the eyes, goes on increasing with age. This 
augmentation of character with advancing age, and more 
especially the difference between the males and females 
in the above-mentioned several respects, are highly re- 
markable 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 fam- 
ily of the Columbid;e. 3B 

Osteological Characters. 

In the skeletons of the various breeds there is much 
variability ; and though certain differences occur frequent- 
ly, and others rarely, in certain breeds, yet none can be 

33 Boitard and Corbie, ' Les Pigeons,' base of the beak in the Carpophaga 
&c, 1824, p. 173. oceanica is sexual ; this, if correct, is an 

34 ' Le Pigeon Voyageur Beige,' 1865, interesting point of analogy with the male 
p. 87. Carrier, which has the wattle at the base 

35 Prof. A. Newton (' Proc. Zoolog. of its beak so much more developed than 
Soc.,' 1865, p. 716) remarks that he in the female. Mr. Wallace informs me 
knows no species which presents any re- that in the sub-family of the Treronidae 
markable sexual distinction ; but it is the sexes often differ in vividness of 
stated (' Naturalist's Library, Birds,' vol. colour. 

ix. p. 117) that the excrescence at the 

Chap. V. 



said to be absolutely characteristic of any breed. Con- 
sidering that strongly marked domestic races have been 
formed chiefly by man's power 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 framework. 
Nor ought we to ex- 
pect changes in the 
skeletons from 
changed habits of 
life; as every facili- 
ty is given to the 
most distinct breeds 
to follow the same 
habits, and the much 
m6di6ed races are 
never allowed to 
wander abroad and 

Fig. 24.— Skulls of Pigeons, viewed laterally, of natural size. A. Wild Rock- 
pigeon, Cohtmba livia. B. Short-faced Tumbler. C English Carrier. D. 
Bagadotten Carrier. 

procure their own food in various ways. Moreover, I 



Chap. V. 

find, on comparing the skeletons of Columba livia, ceiias, 
palumbus, and turtur, which are ranked by all systema- 
tists in two or three distinct though allied genera, that 
the differences are extremely slight, certainly less than 
between the skeletons of some of the most distinct do- 
mestic 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 individual bones, especially those at the base, do not 
differ in shape. But the whole skull, in its proportions, outline, 
and relative direction of the bones, differs greatly in some of the 
breeds, as may be seen by comparing the figures of (a) the wild 
rock-pigeon, (b) the short-faced tumbler, (c) the English carrier, and 
(d) the Bagadotten carrier (of Neumeister), all drawn of the natural 
size and viewed laterally. In the carrier, besides the elongation of 
the bones of the face, the space between the orbits is proportionally a 
little narrower than in the rock-pigeon. In the Bagadotten the upper 
mandible is remarkably arched, and the premaxillary bones are pro- 
portionally broader. In the short-faced tumbler the skull is more 
globular ; all the bones of the face are much shortened, and the front 
of the skull and descending nasal bones are almost perpendicular ; the 
masillo-jugal arch and premaxillary bones form an almost straight 
line ; the space between the prominent edges of the eye-orbits is 

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

Chap. V. 



depressed. In the barb the premaxillary bones arc much short- 
ened, and their anterior portion is thicker than in the rock-pigeon, 
as is the lower part of the nasal bone. In two nuns the ascending 
branches of the premaxillaries, near their tips, were somewhat at- 
tenuated, 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 consid- 
erably shorter. May not this be accounted for by the lessened use 
of the jaws, owing tb 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 

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

of the jaw near the articular end is bent 
inwards in a highly remarkable manner ; 
and the superior margin of the ramus, be- 
yond 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. 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 

Fig. 26.— Skull of Runt, seen 
from above, of natural size, 
showing the reflexed mar- 
gin of the distal portion of 
the lower jaw. 


side, between the edges of the lower jaw and of the premaxillary 
bones. In the rock-pigeon, and in several domestic breeds, the 
edges of the lower jaw on each side come close up to the premaxil- 
lary bones, so that no open space is left. The degree of downward 
curvature of the distal half of the lower jaw also differs to an ex- 
traordinary 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 symphy- 
sis 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. 

Vertebras. — All the breeds have twelve cervical vertebrae. 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 arti- 

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 ske- 
letons 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 de- 
velopment ; being sometimes (as in several, but not all tumblers) 
nearly as prominent as that of the third dorsal vertebra; and the 
two hypapophyses together tend to form an ossified arch. The de- 
velopment 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 vertebrai ; but these vary in 
number, relative size, and distinctness in the different breeds. In 
pouters, with their elongated bodies, there are thirteen or even four- 
teen, and, as we shall immediately see, an additional number of 
caudal vertebrae. In runts and carriers there is generally the pro- 
per number, namely twelve ; but in one runt, and in the Bussorah 

36 I am not sure that I have designa- rules, and, as I use the same terms in 

ted the different kinds of vertebra? cor- the comparison of all the skeletons, this, 

rectly; but I observe that different ana- I hope, will not signify, 
tomists follow in this respect different 

ClIAP. V. 



carrier, there were only eleven. In tumblers there are either eleven, 
twelve, or thirteen sacral vertebra. 

The caudal V6i tebroi 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 vertebra?. 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 excep- 
tion, 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 : — 

Rock Pigeon. 

Pouter, from 
Mr. Bult. 

Dutch Roller. 


Cervical Vertebras 





The ifith linre 
a sm;ill rib. 

Dorsal Vertebra? 
" Ribs .. 


The 6th pair with 

processes, the 7th 

pair without a 




The 6th and 

7th pair with 




The 6th and 7th 

pair without 




The 6th and 

7th pair 
without pro- 

Sacral Vertebra? 
Caudal Vertebra? 



8 or 9 





Total Vertebra? 


43 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 prominent 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 pout- 
er was 1G5 inch, and in a short-faced tumbler only -95 in length ; 
and this is a greater difference than would naturally follow from 
their differently-sized bodies ; but long legs in the pouter, and small 
feet in the tumbler, are selected points. In some pouters the scapula 
is rather straighter, and in some tumblers it is straighter, with the 
apex less elongated, than in the rock-pigeon : in the woodcut, fig, 
28, the scapula? of the rock-pigeon (a), and of a short-faced tumbler 



Chap. V. 

A B 

Fig. 28. — Scapulae, of natu- 
ral size. A. Rock-pigeon. 
B. Short-faced Tumbler. 

(b), are given. The processes at the sum- 
mit of the coracoid, which receive the ex- 
tremities of the furcula, form a more perfect 
cavity in some tum- 
blers than in the 
rock-pigeon : in 
pouters these pro- 
cesses are larger 
and differently 
shaped, and the ex- 
terior angle of the 
extremity of the 
coracoid, which is 
articidated to the 
sternum, is squar- 

The two arms of 
ikefurcula in pout- 
ers diverge less, 
proportionally to their length, than in the 
rock-pigeon ; and the symphysis is more so- 
lid and pointed. In fantails the degree of di- 
vergence of the two arms varies in a remark- 
able manner. In fig. 29, b and c represent 
the furcula? of two fantails ; and it will be 
seen that the divergence in B is rather less 
even than in the furcula of the short-faced, 
small-sized tumbler (a) ; whereas the diver- 
gence 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 furcu- 
la, where articulated to the coracoid s, vary 
eonsiderably in outline. 

In the sternum the differences in form are 
slight, except in the size and outline of the 
perforations, which, both in the larger and 
lesser sized breeds, are sometimes small. 
These perforations, also, are sometimes eith- 
er nearly circular, or elongated, as is often 
the case with carriers. The posterior perfo- 
rations occasionally are not complete, being Fig. 29.— Furcula?, of natu- 
left open posteriorly. The marginal apophy- 
ses forming the anterior perforations vary 
greatly in development. The degree of 

ral size. A. Short-faced 
Tumbler. B and C. Fan- 
tails. D. Pouter. 


convexity of the posterior part of the sternum differs much, being 
sometimes almost perfectly flat. The manubrium is rather more 
prominent in some individuals than in others, and the pore imme- 
diately under it varies greatly in size. 

Correlation of Growth. — By this term I mean that the 
whole organisation is so connected, that when one part 
varies, other parts vary; but which of two correlated 
variations ought to be looked at as the cause and which 
as the effect, or whether both result from some common 
cause, we can seldom or never tell. The point of interest 
for us is that, when fanciers, by the continued selection 
of slight variations, have largely modified one part, they 
often unintentionally produce other modifications. For 
instance, the beak is readily acted on by selection, and, 
with its increased or diminished length, the tongue in- 
creases or diminishes, but not in due proportion ; for, in 
a barb and short-faced tumbler, both of which have very 
short beaks, the tongue, taking the rock-pigeon as the 
standard of comparison, was proportionally not shorten- 
ed enough, whilst in two carriers and in a runtime 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 cor- 
relation with the enlargement of the wattled skin on the 
upper mandible and over the nostrils ; and this is a cha- 
racter 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 pro- 
portionally* more than double the length of those of the 

The great difference (see woodcut No. 27) in the cur- 
" vature 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 an- 
gle formed by the maxillo-jugal arch with the premaxil- 
lary bones. But in carriers, runts, and barbs the singu- 
lar reflexion of the upper margin of the middle part of the 
lower jaw (see woodcut No. 25) is not strictly correlated 
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 

In pouters, the elongation of the body is a selected cha- 
racter, and the ribs, as we have seen, have generally be- 
come very broad, with the seventh pair furnished with 


processes ; the sacral and caudal vertebra? have been aug- 
mented 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 vertebra? have in- 
creased. Hence, during the gradual progress of varia- 
tion 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 in- 
dependently of each other, it is scarcely possible to doubt 
that they generally tend to become elongated or short- 
ened 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 in- 
crease 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 in- 
creased length of the neck-feathers. Short- faced tumblers 
have short wings in nearly due proportion with the re- 
duced size of their bodies ; but it is remarkable, seeing 
that the number of the primary wing-feathers is a con- 
stant character in most birds, that these tumblers gene- 
rally have only nine instead of ten primaries. I have 
myself observed this in eight birds; and the Original 
Columbarian Society 3T reduced the standard for bald-head 
tumblers from ten to nine white flight-feathers, thinking 
it unfair that a bird which had only nine feathers should 
be disqualified for a prize because it had not ten white 

37 J. M. Eaton's Treatise, edit. 1S5S, p. 78. 


flight-feathers. On the other hand, in carriers and runts, 
which have large bodies and long wings, eleven primary- 
feathers have occasionally been observed. 

Mr. Tegetrneier has informed me of a curious and in- 
explicable case of correlation, namely, that young pigeons 
of all breeds, which when mature become white, yellow, 
silver, («. 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. Tegetrneier has 
seen two young birds in the same nest, produced from 
differently coloured parents, which differed greatly in 
the degree to which they were at first clothed with 

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 vai'ying in the same 
manner. The case is, that, when the feet ai*e much 
feathered, the roots of the feathers are connected by a 
web of skin, and apparently in correlation with this the 
two outer toes become connected for a considerable space 
by skin. I have observed this in very many specimens 
of pouters, trumpeters, swallows, roller-tumblers (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 scutellae or scales covering the toes and tarsi 
have not only decreased or increased in size, but likewise 
in number. To give a single instance, I have counted 
eight scutelhe 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 scutelloe 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 coine under the following discussion. 

On the Effects of Disuse. — In the following discussion 
on the relative proportions of the feet, sternum, furcula, 
scapula?, 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 inten- 
tion 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 unfortu- 
nately (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 j 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 compai'ison. The following 
table shows the actual length of the feet in each bird ; and the 
difference between the length which the feet ought to have had 
according to the size of body of each, in comparison with the size 
of body and length of feet of the rock-pigeon, calculated (with a 
few specified exceptions) by the standard of the length of the body 
from the base of the beak to the oil-gland. I have preferred this 
standard, owing to the variability of the length of tail. But I have 
made similar calculations, taking as the standard the length from 
tip to tip of wing, and likewise in most cases from the base of the 
beak to the end of the tail ; and the result has always been closely 
similar. To give an example : the first bird in the table, being a 
short-faced tumbler, is much smaller than the rock-pigeon, and 
would naturally havo shorter feet ; but it is found on calculation to 
have feet too short by '11 of an inch, in comparison with the feet of 
the rock-pigeon, relatively to the size of the body in these two birds, 
as measured from the base of beak to the oil-gland. So again, 
when this same tumbler and the rock-pigeon were compared by the 
length of their wings, or by the extreme length of their bodies, the 
feet of the tumbler were likewise found to be too short jn very 
nearly the same proportion. I am well aware that the measure- 



Chap. V. 

ments pretend to greater accuracy than is possible, but it was less 
trouble to write down the actual measurements given by the com- 
passes in each case than an approximation. 

Table I. 

Pigeons with their beaks generally shorter than that of the Rock- 
2)igeon, proportionally with the size of their bodies. 

Name of Breed. 

Wild rock-pigeon (mean measure-) 
ment) ) 

Short-faced Tumbler, bald-head . . . . 
,, . „ almond . . 

Tumbler, red magpie 

„ red common (by standard \ 

to end of tail) . . . . J 

„ common bald-head . . . . 

„ roller 


Jacobin . .' 

Trumpeter, white 

„ mottled . . , 

Fantail (by standard to end of tail) . . 



actual and calculated 


length of feet, in 



o length of 


feet and size of body 


in the Rock-pigeon. 


Too short 

Too long 
























































2 30 



• • 


„ crested var. 
Indian Frill-back 
English Frill back 


Laugher . . 


Swallow, red 

blue . , 


„ German . 
Bussorah Carrier 

Number of specimens 



Chap. V. 



Table II. 

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

Name of Breed. 
Wild rock-pigeon (mean measurement) 



2-02 # 

pifference 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 


2 40 
2 25 


" Pigeon cygne 

Number of specimens 



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 columes we see by how much the feet are too short or too 
long, according to the size of bird, in comparison with the rock-pi- 
geon. In the first table twenty-two specimens have their feet too 
short, on an average by a little above the tenth of an inch (viz. - 107) ; 
and five specimens have their feet on an average a very little too 
long, namely, by 07 of an inch. But some of these latter and ex- 
ceptional cases can be explained : for instance, with pouters the legs 
and feet are selected for length, and thus any natural tendency to a 
diminution in the length of the feet will have been counteracted. 
In the swallow and barb, when the calculation was made on any 
standard of comparison excepting the one above used (viz. length 
of body from base of beak to oil-gland), the feet were found to be too 

In the second table we have eight birds, with their beaks much 
longer than in the rock pigeon, both actually and proportionally with 
the size of body, and their feet are in an equally marked manner 
longer, namely, in proportion, on an average by 29 of an inch. I 
should here state that in Table I. there are a few partial exceptions 
' to the beak being proportionally shorter than in the rock-pigeon : 


thus the beak of the English frill-back is just perceptibly longer, 
and that of the Bussorah carrier of the same length or slightly longer, 
than in the rock -pigeon. The beaks of spots, swallows, and laugh- 
ers are only a very little shorter, or of the same proportional length, 
but slenderer. Nevertheless, these two tables, taken conjointly, in- 
dicate 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 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 ad- 
mitted as highly probable that the reduction in the size of the feet 
in the twenty-two birds in the first table has been caused by disuse, 38 
and that this reduction has acted by correlation on the beaks of the 
great majority of the birds in Table I. When, on the other hand, 
the beak has been much elongated, by the continued selection of 
successive slight increments of length, the feet by correlation have 
likewise become much elongated in comparison with those of the 
wild rock-pigeon, notwithstanding their lessened use. 

As I had taken measures from the end of the middle <toe to the 
heel of the tarsus in the rock-pigeon and in the above thirty-six birds, 
I have made calculations analogous with those above given, and the 
result is the same, — namely, that in the .short-beaked breeds, with 
equally few exceptions as in the former case, the middle toe con- 
jointly with the tarsus has decreased in length ; whereas in the long- 
beaked breeds it has increased in length, though not quite so uni- 
formly 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 in- 
comparably 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 dif- 
ferent breeds, and in two wild rock-pigeons from the Shetland Is- 
lands. For the proportional comparison I have tried with all twelve 
birds three standards of measurement, namely the length from the 

38 In an analogous, but converse man- habits than other allied groups, have 
ner, certain natural groups of the Colum- larger feet. See Prince Bonaparte's 'Coup- 
bida?, from being more terrestrial in their d'oeil sur l'Ordre des Pigeons.' 

Chap. V. 



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 the 
wild rock-pigeoni I will give only a single table, as calculated by 
the standard from the base of the beak to the oil-gland ; for the re- 
sult in this case is nearly the mean between the result obtained by 
the two other standards. 

Length of Sternum. 

• Actual 
Name of Breed. ; Length. 

| Indies. 

Short by 

Name of Breed. 



Short by 

Wild Rock-pigeon .. | 255 
Pied Scanderoon .. 2 80 
Bagadotten Carrier 2 "80 
Dragon ! 2 "45 

Short-faced Tumbler 1 2 05 

: 60 

German Pouter 

English Frill-back . . 



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, proportionally with the size of their bodies ; so that the 
sternum has been reduced by between one-seventh and one-eighth 
of its entire length ; and this is a considerable reduction. 

I have also measured in twenty-one birds, including the- above 
dozen, the prominence of the crest of the sternum relatively to its 
length, independently of the size of the body. In two of the 
twenty-one birds the crest was prominent in the same relative de- 
gree as in the rock pigeon ; in seven it was more prominent ; but in 
five out of these seven, namely, in a fantail, two scanderoons, and two 
English carriers, this greater prominence may to a certain extent be 
explained, as a prominent breast is admired and selected by fanciers ; 
in the remaining twelve birds the prominence was less. Hence it 
follows that the crest exhibits a slight, though uncertain, tendency 
to 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 38+ 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 26+ 
inches. In a barb, which in all its measurements 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 propor- 
tionally Avith the increased length of the body. In a short-faced 
tumbler, which measured from tip to tip of wings 24 inches, there- 
fore 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, scapulae, 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 re- 
mark 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 corre- 
lated length of the tail and wing-feathers, it is better to 
take as the standard of comparison the length from the 
base of the beak to the oil-gland ; and by this standard, 
out of twenty-six of the same birds which had been thus 
measured, twenty-one had wings too long, and only five 
had them too short. In the twenty -one birds the wings ex- 
ceeded in length those of the rock-pigeon, on an average, 
by l£ inch ; whilst in the five birds they were less in 
length by only *8 of an inch. As I was much surprised 
that the wings of closely confined birds should thus so 
frequently have been increased in length, it occurred to 
me that it might be solely due to the greater length of 
the wing-feathers ; for this certainly is the case with the 
jacobin, which has wings of unusual length. As in al- 
most every case I had measured the folded wings, I sub- 
tracted 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- 
live 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 
wings, in the same manner as with the feet and tarsi. 
The shortening of the humerus and radius in the seven- 
teen birds may probably be attributed to disuse, as in the 
case of the scapulas 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 I presume that this may be safely at- 
tributed 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 

89 It perhaps deserves no'.ic; fhat be- beaked carriers. It would, therefore, 

sides these five birds two of the eight appear as if, during the reduction of 

were barbs, which, as I hare shown, their beaks, their wings had retained a 

must be classed in the sime group with little of that excess of length which is 

the long-beaked carriers and runts. characteristic of their nearest relations 

Barbs may properly be called short- and progenitors. 



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 

Summary on the Points of Difference between the 
several Domestic Maces, and between the individual 
Birds. — The beak, together with the bones of the face, 
differ remarkably in length, breadth, shape, and curva- 
ture. 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 development of the wattle. The size and form 
of the oesophagus and crop, and their capacity for in- 
flation, 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 vertebras, and the length of the sternum, 
all vary. * The number and size of the coccygeal verte- 
bras 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 fui'cula, differ. The oil-gland varies in develop- 
ment, and is sometimes quite aborted. The direction 
and length of certain feathers have been much modified, 
as in the hood of the Jacobin and the frill of the Turbit. 
The wing and tail feathers generally vary in length to- 
gether, 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 nam* 
ber, 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 
scutelloe, 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. Ac- 
cording to Parmentier, 40 some races use much straw in 
building their nests, and others use little ; but I cannot 
hear of any recent corroboration of this statement. The 
length of time required for hatching the eggs is uniform 
in all the breeds. The period at which the characteristic 
plumage of some breeds is acquired, and at which cer- 
tain 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, pre- 
sent 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 cha- 
racter 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 cha- 
racters vary most which are now most valued and at- 
tended to by fanciers, and which consequently are now 
being improved by continued selection. This is indi- 

** Temminck, ' Hist. Nat. G6n. des Pigeons et des GallinacSs,' torn, i., 1818, p. 17a 



Chap. V. 

rectly admitted by fanciers when they complain that it 
is much more difficult to breed high fancy pigeons up to 
the proper standard of excellence than the so-called 
toy pigeons, which differ from each other merely in 
colour ; for particular colours when once acquired are 
not liable to continued improvement or augmentation. 
Some characters become attached, from quite unknown 
causes, more strongly to the male than to the female 
sex ; so that we have, in certain races, a tendency to- 
wards the appearance of secondary sexual characters." 
of which the aboriginal rock-pigeon displays not a trace. 

*' This term was used by John Hunter 
for such differences in structure between 
the males and females, as are not di- 

rectly connected with the act of repro- 
duction, as the tail of the peacock, the 
horns of deer, &c 



PIGEONS— continued. 


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

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


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, occasion- 
ally alighted on the barer branches, was evident. 2 Nev- 
ertheless, Mr. R. 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 G. livia, var. intermedia, some- 
times 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 repeat- 
edly 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 de- 
tected some vestige of so different an aboriginal habit. 
For we have reason to believe that aboriginal habits are 
Ions: retained under domestication. Thus with the com- 

5 I have heard through Sir C. Lyell * In works written on the pigeon by 
from Miss Buckley, that some half-bred fanciers I have sometimes observed the 
carriers kept during many years near mistaken belief expressed that the spe- 
London regularly settled by day on some cies which naturalists call ground pi- 
adjoining trees, and, after being dis- geons (in contradistinction to arboreal 
turbed in their loft by their young being pigeons) do not perch and build on 
taken, roosted on them at night. trees. In these same works wild spe- 

3 ' AnnaU and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' cies resembling the chief domestic races 

2nd ser., vol. xx., 1857, p. 509; and in a are often said to exist in various parts 

late volume of the Journal of the Asiatic of the world, but such species are quite 

Society. unknown to naturalists. 


mon 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 (Den- 
drocygna viduata) in its native country often perches and 
roosts on trees, 5 and our domesticated musk-ducks, though 
such sluggish birds, " are fond of perching on the tops of 
barns, walls, &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." 8 We know that the dog, however 
well and regularly fed, often buries, like the fox, any su- 
perflous 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 be- 
lieve, 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 an) r near approach in structure to the domes- 

8 Sir R. Schomburgk, in ' Journal R. • Rev. E. 9. Dixon, ' Ornamental Poul- 

Geograph. Soc.,' vol. xiii. 1344, p. 82. try,' ISIS, pp. 63, 66. 


ticatecT pigeon are known to exist, I will enumerate 

Firstly, the Columba leuconota resembles certain domestic varie- 
ties in its plumage, with the one marked and never-failing difference 
of a white band which crosses the tail at some distance from the ex- 
tremity. This species, moreover, inhabits the Himalaya, close to 
the limit of perpetual snow ; and therefore, as Mr. Blyth has re- 
marked, is not likely to have been the parent of our domestic breeds, 
which thrive in the hottest countries. Secondly, the 0. rupestrit, 
of Central Asia, which is intermediate 7 between the C. leuconota and 
livia ; but has nearly the same coloured tail with the former species. 
Thirdly, the Columba littoralis builds and roosts, according to Tem- 
minck, 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. lucluosa, as they in fact belong to the genus Carpo- 
phaga. Fourthly, Columba Guinea, which ranges from Guinea * to 
the Cape of Good Hope, and roosts either on trees or rocks, according 
to the nature of the country. This species belongs to the genus 
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. Mansfield Parkyns, 
who collected the birds of that country and knows the species, informs 
me that this is a mistake. Moreover the C. Guinea is characterized 
by the feathers of the neck having peculiar notched tips, — a charac- 
ter not observed in any domestic race. Fifthly, the Columba oznas 
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 pre- 
sently 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 litia,, 

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

• Temminck, ' Hist. Nat. Gen. des The C. leucocephal of the West Indies 
Pigeons,' torn. i. ; also 'Les Pigeons,' is stated by Temminck to be a rock- 
par Mad. Knip and Temminck. Bona- pigeon ; but I am informed by Mr. Gosse 
parte however, in his ' Coup-d'oeil,' be- that this is an error, 
lieves that two closely allied species are 


which is often designated in Europe pre-eminently as the Rock-pi- 
geon, and which naturalists believe to be the parent of all the do- 
mesticated 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. Occasion- 
ally 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 " as G. affinis, 
but is now no longer considered by him as a distinct species. C. af- 
finis is rather smaller than the rock-pigeon of the Scottish islands, 
and has a very different appearance owing to the wing-coverts being 
chequered with black, with similar marks often extending over the 
back. The chequering consists of a large black spot on the two 
sides, but chiefly on the outer side, of each feather. The wing- bars 
in the true rock-pigeon and in the chequered variety are, in fact, due 
to similar though larger spots symmetrically crossing the secondary 
wing-feather and the larger coverts. Hence the chequering arises 
merely from an extension of these marks to other parts of the 
plumage. Chequered birds are not confined to the coasts of Eng- 
land ; for they were found by Graba at Faroe ; and W. Thompson w 
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 Ork- 
ney Islands, and Islay, no importance can be attached to this natu- 
ral variation in the plumage. 

Prince C. L. Bonaparte, 13 a great divider of species, enumerates, 
with a mark of interrogation, as distinct from C. lima, the C. turri- 
cola of Italy, the C. rirpestris of Daouria, and the C. Schimperi of 
Abyssinia ; but these birds differ from C. livia in characters of the 

* ' Handbuch der Naturgesch. Vogel ing. 

Deutschlands.' •« ■ Natural History of Ireland,' Birds, 

10 ' Tagebuch Reise nach Faro,' 1830, vol. ii. (1850), p. 11. For Graba, see pra- 

»• 62. vious reference. 

"'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' > 3 ' Coup-d'oeil surl'Ordre des Pi- 

vol. xix., 181", p. 102. This excellent gcons,' Cowptes Reudus, 1854-55. 
paper on pigeons is well worth consult- 


most trifling value. In the British Museum there is a chequered 
pigeon, probably the G. ScMmperi of Bonaparte, from Abyssinia. 
To these may be added th,e C. gymriocyclus of G. R. Gray from W. 
Africa, which is slightly more distinct, and has rather more naked 
skin round the eyes than the rock pigeon ; but from information 
given me by Dr. Daniell, it is doubtful whether this is a wild 
bird, for dovecot pigeons (which I have examined) are kept on the 
coast of Guinea. 

The wild rock-pigeon of India (G. intermedia of Strickland) has 
been more generally accepted as a distinct species. It chiefly dif- 
fers in the croup being blue instead of snow-white ; but as Mr. 
Blyth informs me, the tint varies, being sometimes albescent. When 
this form is domesticated chequered birds appear, just as occurs in 
Europe with the truly wild G livia. Moreover w r e shall immediate- 
ly have proof that the blue and white croup is a highly variable 
character ; and Bechstein " asserts that with dovecot-pigeons in 
Germany this is the most variable of all the characters of the plu- 
mage. Hence it may be concluded that G. intermedia cannot be 
ranked as specifically distinct from G. livia. 

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

From these facts it can hardly be doubted that G lima, affinis, in- 
termedia, and the forms marked with an interrogation by Bonaparte, 
ought all to be included under a single species. But it is quite im- 
material 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-pi geona, 

i« ' Naturgeach. Deutsclilands,' Band iv., 1795, 8. 14. 

Chap. vi. THEIR PARENTAGE. 227 

which are kept in various parts of the world, arc descended from 
one or from several of the above-mentioned wild varieties of C. livia, 
no one who compares them will doubt. But before making a few 
remarks on dovecot-pigeons, it should be stated that the wild rock- 
pigeon has been found easy to tame in several countries. We have 
seen that Colonel King at Hythe stocked his dovecot more than 
twenty years ago with young wild birds taken at the Orkney Is- 
lands, and since this time they have greatly multiplied. The accu- 
rate 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 Hut ton informs me, the wild rock-pigeon is easily tamed, 
and breeds readily with the domestic kind ; and Mr. Blyth I0 asserts 
that wild birds come frequently to the dovecots and mingle freely 
with their inhabitants. In the ancient ' Ayeen Akbery' it is writ- 
ten 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 
procure 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. litia; but I have seen dovecots brought from York- 
shire, without any trace of chequering, like the wild rock-pigeon of 
the Shetland Islands. The chequered dovecots from the Orkney 
Islands, after having been domesticated by Colonel King for more 
I han twenty years, differed slightly from each other in the darkness 
i f their plumage, and in the thickness of their beaks ; the thinnest 
beak being rather thicker than the thickest one in the Madeira 
birds. In Germany, according to Bechstein, the common dovecot- 
pigeon is not chequered. In India they often become chequered, 
and sometimes pied with white ; the croup also, as I am informed 
by Mr. Blyth, "becomes nearly white. I have received from Sir J. 
Brooke some dovecot-pigeons, which originally came from the S. 
Natunas Islands in the Malay archipelago, and which had been 

16 ' History'of British Birds,' vol. i. pp. wild rock-pigeon came and settled in Ms 

275-2S4. Mr. Andrew Duncan tamed a dovecot in Balta Sound in the Shetland 

rock-pigeon in the Shetland Islands. Mr. Islands, and bred with his pigeons ; he 

James Barclay, and Mr. Smith of Uyea has also given me other instances of the 

Sound, both say that the wild rock-pi wild rock-pigeon having been taken 

geon can be easily tamed ; and the for- young and breeding in captivity, 

mer gentleman asserts that the tame 16 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,* 

birds breed four times a year. Dr. Law- vol. xix., 1&17, p. 103, and vol. for 1S3T, 

rence Edmondstone informs me that a p. 512. 


crossed with the Singapore dovecots ; they were small, and the dark- 
est variety was extremely like the dark chequered variety with a 
bine 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 liv- 
ing dovecot-pigeons from Sierra Leone ; 17 these were fully as large 
as the Shetland rock-pigeon, with even bulkier bodies. In plumage 
some of them were identical with the Shetland rock-pigeon, but 
with the metallic tints apparently rather more brilliant ; others had 
a blue croup and resembled the chequered variety of C. intermedia 
of India ; and some were so much chequered as to be nearly black. 
In these four birds the beak differed slightly in length, but in all it 
was decidedly shorter, more massive, and stronger than in the wild 
rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands, or in the English dovecot. 
When the beaks of these African pigeons were compared with the 
thinnest beaks of the wild Madeira specimens, the contrast was 
great ; the former being fully one-third thicker in a vertical direc- 
tion than the latter ; so that any one at first would have felt inclined 
to rank these birds as specifically distinct ; yet so perfectly gradua- 
ted a series could be formed between the above-mentioned varieties, 
that it was obviously impossible to separate them. 

To sum up: the wild Columba livia, including under 
this name C. affinis, intermedia, and the other still more 
closely-affined geographical races, has a vast range from 
the southern coast of Norway and the Faroe Islands to 
the shores of the Mediterranean, to Madeira and the Ca- 
nary 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 sim- 
ilar but greater range of variation in plumage, in the size 
of body, and in the length and thickness of the beak. 

W Domestic pigeons of the common edinl"46-, they are said, in accordance 

kind are mentioned as being pretty nu- with the name which they bear, to have 

merous in John Barbut's ' Description been imported, 
of the Coast of Guinea,' (p. 215), publish- 


There seems to be some relation between the cronp being 
blue or white, and the temperature of the country inhab- 
ited by both wild and dovecot-pigeons; for nearly all the 
dovecot-pigeons in the northern parts of Europe have a 
white croup, like that of the wild European rock-pigeon ; 
and nearly all the dovecot-pigeons of India have a blue 
croup like that of the wild C. intermedia of India. As 
in various countries the wild rock-pigeon has been found 
easy to tame, it seems extremely probable that the dove- 
cot-pigeons throughout the world are the descendants of 
at least two and perhaps more wild stocks, but these, as 
we have just seen, cannot be ranked as specifically distinct. 
With respect to the variation of C. livia, we may 
without fear of contradiction go one step further. Those 
pigeon-fanciers who believe that all the chief races, such 
as Carriers, Pouters, Fantails, &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, Nans, Helmets, 
Swallows, Priests, Monks, Porcelains, Swabians, Arch- 
angels, Breasts, Shields, and others in Europe, and many 
others in India. It would indeed be as puerile to sup- 
pose 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 likewise truly trans- 
mit 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- 
piireons. Although we may safely admit that the latter, 
which vary slightly, and that the toy-pigeons, which vary 
in a greater degree in accordance with their more highly- 
domesticated condition, arc descended from C. llvia, in- 


eluding under this name the above-enumerated wild geo- 
graphical 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 
conclusive nature, that these principal races are not de- 
scended from so many wild stocks ; and if this be once 
admitted, few will dispute that they are the descendants 
of C. llvia, which agrees with them so closely in habits 
and in most characters, which varies in a state of nature, 
and which has certainly undergone a considerable amount 
of variation, as in the toy-pigeons. We shall moreover 
presently see how eminently favourable circumstances 
have been for a great amount of modification in the more 
carefully tended breeds. 

The reasons for concluding that the several principal 
races 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 pro- 
duce races so distinct as pouters, carriers, runts, fantails, 
turbits, short-faced tumblers, jacobines, and trumpeters. 
How could crossing produce, for instance, a pouter or a 
fantail, unless the two supposed aboriginal parents pos- 
sessed the remarkable characters of these breeds? I 
am aware that some naturalists, following Pallas, believe 
that crossing gives a strong tendency to variation, inde- 
pendently 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 sub- 

Ohap. 71. THEIR PARENTAGE. 231 

ject. For our present purpose the point is not material. 
The question which concerns us is, whether or not many 
new and important characters have arisen since man first 
domesticated the pigeon. On the ordinary view, varia- 
bility is due to changed conditions of life ; on the Palla- 
sian doctrine, variability, or the appearance of new cha- 
racters, 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-beak- 
ed carrier, having large eye-wattles, and some short -beak- 
ed pigeon. That many races have been in some degree 
modified by crossing, and that certain varieties which are 
distinguished only by peculiar tints have arisen from 
crosses between differently-coloured varieties, may be ad- 
mitted 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 exist- 
ed but have become extinct as wild birds. Considering 
how carefully wild pigeons have been collected through- 
out the world, and what conspicuous birds they are, es- 
pecially when frequenting rocks, it is extremely impro- 
bable that eiglit 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 pro- 
bable. 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 pa- 
rent-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 Avere then ill-pro- 
vided 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 species were formerly so thoroughly domes- 
ticated 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 con- 
finement ; although it must be owned that this is less 
difficult with pigeons than with most other birds. Dur- 
ing the last two or three hundred years, many birds have 
been kept in aviaries, but hardly one has been added 
to our list of thoroughly reclaimed species ; yet on the 
above doctrine we must admit that in ancient times 
nearly a dozen kinds of pigeons, now unknown in the 
wild state, were thoroughly domesticated. 

Thirdly. — Most of our domesticated animals have run 
wild in various parts of the world ; but birds, owing 


apparently to their partial loss of the power of flight, 
less often than quadrupeds. Nevertheless I have met 
with aecounts 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 
h:is 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 mnsk-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 be- 
come 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 Ame- 
rica. 18 But how different is the case, when we turn to 
the eleven chief domestic races of the pigeon, which are 
supposed by some authors to be descended from so many 
distinct species ! no one has ever pretended that any one 
of these races has been found wild in any quarter of the 
world ; yet they have been transported to all countries, 
and some of them must have been carried back to their 
native homes. On the view that all the races are the 

19 With respect to feral pigeons — for 'American Ornithology,' and Selys- 

Juan Fernandez, see Bertero in l Annal. Longchamp's ' Hybrides dans la Famille 

des Sc. Nat.,' torn xxi. p. 851. For Nor- des Anatides.' For the goose, Isidore 

folk Inland, see Rev. E. S. Dixon in the Geoffroy St. Hilaire, •Hist. Nat. Gen.,' 

' Dovecote,' 1S51 . p. 14, on the authority torn. iii. p. 493. For guinea-fowls, see 

Of Mr. Gould. For Ascension I rely on Gosse's ' Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamai- 

MS. information given me by Mr. Layard. ca,' p. 124 ; and his 'Birds of Jamaica' 

For the banks of the Hudson, see Blyth for fuller particulars. I saw the wild 

in ' Annals of Nat. Hist.,' vol. XX., 1 ^57, Guinea-fowl in Ascension. For the pea- 

p. 511. For Scotland, see Macpillivray, cock, see ' A Week at Port Royal,' by a 

' British Birds, ' vol. i. p. 275 ; also competent authority, Mr. R. Hill, p. 42. 

Thompson's ' Nat. History of Ireland, For the turkey I rely on oral informal 

Birds,' vol. ii. p. 11. For ducks, see Rev. tion; I ascertained that they were not 

K. S. Dixon, 'Ornamental Poultry,' 1S47, Curassows. With respect to fowls I 

p. 122. For the feral hybrids of the will give the references in the next 

common and musk-ducks, see Audubon's chapter. 


product of variation, we can understand why they have 
not become feral, for the great amount of modification 
which they have undergone shows how long and how 
thoroughly they have been domesticated ; and this would 
unfit them for a wild life. 

Fourthly. — If it be assumed that the characteristic dif- 
ferences between the various domestic races are due to 
descent from several aboriginal species, we must con- 
clude 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 spe- 
cies, but that these same species have since all become 
extinct, or are at least now unknown. This double acci- 
dent is so extremely improbable that the assumed exist- 
ence of so many abnormal species would require to be 
supported by the strongest evidence. On the other hand, 
if all the races are descended from C. livia, we can un- 
derstand, as will hereafter be more fully explained, how 
any slight deviation in structure which first appeared 
would continually be augmented by the preservation of 
the most strongly marked individuals ; and as the power 
of selection would be applied according to man's fancy, 
and not for the bird's own good, the accumulated amount 
of deviation would certainly be of an abnormal nature in 
comparison with the structure of pigeons living in a 
state of nature. 

I have already alluded to the remarkable fact, that the 
characteristic differences between the chief domestic 
races are eminently variable : we see this plainly in the 
great difference in the number of the tail-feathers in the 
fantail, in the development of the crop in pouters, in the 

Chap. TI. 



length of the beak in tumblers, in the state of the wattle 
in carriers, &c. If these characters are the result of suc- 
cessive 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 domesti- 
cation of the pigeon, and therefore would be likely still 
to vary ; these variations moreover have been recently, 
and are still being accumulated by man's selection ; 
therefore they have not as yet become firmly fixed. 

Fifthly. — All the domestic races pair readily together, 
and, what is equally important, their mongrel offspring 
are perfectly fertile. To ascertain this fact I made many 
experiments, which are given in the note below ; and 
recently Mr. Tegetmeier has made similar experiments 
with the same result. 19 The accurate Nenmeister 20 as- 
serts that when dovecots are crossed with pigeons of any 

" 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 thing has 
occurred (Rev. E. S. Dixon, ' The 
Dovecot,' p. 107) between turbits 
and dovecots and nuns. I have 
crossed turbits with barbs, as has M. 
Boitard (p. 31), who says the hybrids 
were very fertile. Hybrids from a turbit 
and fantail have been known to breed 
inter ne (Riedel, Taubenzucht, s. 25, 
and Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutsch.' 
B. iv. s. 44). Turbits (Riedel, s. 26) 
have been crossed with pouters and with 
jacobins, and with a hybrid jacobin- 
trumpeter (Riedel, s. 27). The latter 
author has, however, made some vague 
statements (a. 22) on the sterility of 
turbits when crossed with certain other 
crossed breeds. But I have little doubt 
that the Rev. E. S. Dixon's explanation 
of such statements is correct, viz. that 
individual birds both with turbits and 
other breeds are occasional! sterile. 

30 'Das Ganze der Taubenzucht,' 
8. 18. 



Chap. VI. 

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 off- 
spring. I admit that the doctrine first broached by 
Pallas is highly probable, if not actually proved, namely, 
that closely allied species, Avhich 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 consider the great differ- 
ence between such races as pouters, carriers, runts, fan- 
tails, turbits, tumblers, &c, the fact of their perfect, or 
even increased, fertility when intercrossed in the most 
complicated manner becomes a strong argument in favour 
of their having all descended from a single species. This 
argument is rendered much stronger when we hear (I 
append in a note " all the cases which I have collected) 

51 ' Les Pigeons,' 4c, p. 35. 

33 Domestic pigeons pair readily with 
the allied C. oenas (Bechstein, ' Natur- 
gesch. Deutschlands,' B. iv. s. 3) ; and 
Mr. Brent has made the same cross seve- 
ral 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) pair- 
ed with a dragon, but never laid eggs. 
Bechstein further states (s. 26) that the 
domestic pigeon will cross with C. pa- 
lunibus, Tartur risoria, and T. vulga- 
ris, but nothing is said of the fertility of 
the hybrids, and this would have been 
mentioned had the fact been ascertained. 
In the Zoological Gardens (MS. report to 
me from Mr. James Hunt) a male hybrid 
from Turtur vulgaris and a domestic 
pigeon " paired with several different 
species of pigeons and doves, but none 
of the eggs were good." Hybrids from 
C. 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 fe- 

male T. risoria, and the latter laid many 
eggs, but all were sterile. MM. Boitard 
and Corbie (' Les Pigeons,' p. 235) state 
that the hybrids from these two turtle- 
doves are invariably sterile both inter 
se and with either pure parent. The ex- 
periment was tried by M. Corbie " avec 
une espece d'obstination ;" and likewise 
by M. Manduyt, and by M. Vieillot. Tem- 
minck also found the hybrids from these 
two species quite barren. Therefore, 
when Bechstein (' 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 ' 
newspaper (in a letter dated Nov. 10th, 
1S5S) makes a similar assertion, it would 
appear that there must be some mistake ; 
though what the mistake is I know not, 
as Bechstein at least must have kuown 
the white variety of T. risoria: it would 
be an unparalleled fact if the same two 
species sometimes produced extremely 
fertile, and sometimes extremely barren, 
offspring. In the MS. report from the 
Zoological Gardens it is said that hybrids 
from Turtur vulgaris and suratensis, 


that hardly a single well-ascertained instance is known 
of hybrids between two true species of pigeons being fer- 
tile, inter se, or even when crossed with one of their pure 

Sixthly. — Excluding certain important characteristic 
differences, the chief races agree most closely both with 
each other and with C. livia in all other respects. As 
previously observed, all are eminently sociable ; all dis- 
like to perch or roost, and refuse to build in trees ; all 
lay two eggs, and this is not a universal rule with the 
Columbidae ; all, as far as I can hear, require the same 
time for hatching their eggs ; all can endure the same 
great range of climate ; all prefer the same food, and are 
passionately fond of salt; all exhibit (with the asserted 
exception of the finnikin and turner, which do not differ 
much in any other character) the same peculiar gestures 
when courting the females; and all (with the exception of 
trumpeters and laughers, which likewise do not differ much 
in any other character) coo in the same peculiar manner, 
unlike the voice of any other wild pigeon. All the co- 
loured 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 singu- 
lar correlation between the development of down in the 
young and the future colour of plumage. All have the 
proportional length of their toes, and of their primary 
wing-feathers, nearly the same, — characters which are 
apt to differ in the several members of the Columbida3. 

and from T. vulgaris and Ectopistet mi- tus with T. cambayensis and with T. 

gratorius, were sterile. Two of the latter suralensis ; but nothing is said of their 

male hybrids paired with their pure pa- fertility. At the Zoological Gardens of 

rents, viz. Turtitr vulgaris and the London the Goura coronata and victo- 

Ectopistes, and likewise with T. risoria rim produced a hybrid, which paired 

and with Columba oenas, and many eggs with the pure G. coronata, and laid seve- 

were produced, but all were barren. ral eggs, but these proved barren. In 

At Paris, hybrids have been raised (Isid. 1S60 Columba gymnophthalmos and 

Geoffroy Saint Hiluire, ' Hist. Nat. Gene- maculosa produced hybrids in these 

rale,' torn. Ui. p. 180) from Turtur auri- same gardens. 


In those races which present some remarkable deviation 
of structure, such as the tail of fantails, crop of pouters, 
beak of carriers and tumblers, &c, the other parts re- 
main nearly unaltered. Now every naturalist will admit 
that it would be scarcely possible to pick out a dozen 
natural species in any Family, which should agree closely 
in habits and in general structure, and yet should differ 
greatly in a few characters alone. This fact is explicable 
through the doctrine of natural selection ; for each suc- 
cessive modification of structure in each natural species 
is preserved, solely because it is of service ; and such 
modifications when largely accumulated imply a great 
change in the habits of life, and this will almost certainly 
lead to other changes of structure throughout the whole 
organisation. On the other hand, if the several races of 
the pigeon have been produced by man through selection 
and variation, we can readily understand how it is that 
they should still all resemble each other in habits and in 
those many characters which man has not cared to modi- 
fy, whilst they differ to so prodigious a degree in those 
parts which have struck his eye or pleased his fancy. 

Besides the points above enumerated, in which all the 
domestic races resemble C. lima 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, ex- 
cept near the tips. These combined characters are not 
found in any wild pigeon besides C. 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 ex- 
tremely rare, and the two black bars on the wings occur 
in no other pigeon, excepting the alpine C. leuconota and 

Chap. VI. 



C. rupestri* of Asia. Now if we turn to the domestic 
races, it is highly remarkable, as an eminent fancier, Mr. 
Wicking, observed to me, that, whenever a blue bird ap- 
pears in any race, the wings almost invariably show the 
double black bars." The primary wing-feathers may be 
white or black, and the whole body maybe 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, 

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

s * 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 
ame ; but the group in some was bluish 
or pure blue : Mr. Wicking bred blue 
fantails from two black birds. Carriers 
(including the Bagadotten of Neumei- 
Bter), with all the marks : two birds 
which I examined had white, and two 
had blue croups ; the white edging to 
the outer tail-feathers was not present 
In all. Mr. Corker, a great breeder, as- 

sures 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. Runts of the elongated 
breed had the same marks, but the 
croup was pale blue ; the outer tail- 
feathers had white edges. Neumeister 
figures the great Florence Runt of a blue 
colour with black bars. Jacobins are 
very rarely blue, but I have received 
authentic accounts of at least two 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 absolutely white. Blue 
barbs and trumpeters seem to be ex- 
cessively rare ; but Neumeister, who 
may be implicitly trusted, figures blue 
varieties of both, with black wing-bars. 
Mr. Brent informs me that he has seen 
a blue barb ; and Mr. H. Weir, as I am 
informed by Mr. Tegctmeler, once bred 
a silver (which means very pale blue) 
barb from two yellow birds. 


which, as I carefully observed in each case, appeared to 
be perfectly pure : namely, in Pouters, Fantails, Tumblers, 
Jacobins, Turbits, Barbs, Carriers, Runts of three dis- 
tinct varieties, Trumpeters, Swallows, and in many other 
toy-pigeons, which, as being closely allied to C. livid, are 
not worth enumerating. Thus we see that, in purely- 
bred races of every kind known in Europe, blue birds oc- 
casionally appear having all the marks which charac- 
terise C. livia, and which concur in no other wild species. 
Mr. Blyth, also, has made the same observation with re 
spect to the various domestic races known in India. 

Certain variations in the plumage are equally common 
in the wild G. livia, in dovecot-pigeons, and in all the 
most highly modified races. Thus, in all, the croup varies 
from white to blue, being most frequently white in Eu- 
rope, and very generally blue in India." 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. Es- 
quilant has seen a chequered Runt. I bred from two 
pure blue Tumblers a chequered bird. 

The facts hitherto given refer to the occasional appear- 
ance 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 

26 Mr. Blyth Informs me that all the has some white feathers on the croup 

domestic races in India have the croup alone. In some other Indian pigeons 

blue ; but this is not invariable, for I there were a few white feathers confined 

possess a very pale blue Simmali pigeon to the croup, and I hare noticed the same 

with the croup perfectly white, sent to fact in a carrier from Persia. The Java 

me by Sir W. Elliot from Madras. A fantail (imported into Amoy, and thence 

slaty-blue and chequered Nakshi pigeon sent me) has a perfectly white croup. 


have Intel (luring many generations, a trace of blue in 
their plumage, or a trace of wing-bars and the other cha- 
racteristic marks, they very frequently produce mongrel 
oifspring of a blue colour, sometimes chequered, with 
black wing-bars, <fec. ; or if not of a blue colour, yet with 
the several characteristic marks more or less plainly de- 
veloped. 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 bi- 
sets or dovecot-pigeons, which, as we know, ai - e blue birds 
with the usual characteristic marks. We shall hereafter 
see that this subject possesses, independently of our pre- 
sent 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 Avas established 
as long ago as the year 1600. I crossed a male nun with 
a female red common tumbler, which latter variety gen- 
erally breeds true. Thus neither parent had a trace of 
blue in the plumage, or of bars on the wing and tail. I 
should premise that common tumblers are rarely blue in 
England. From the above cross I reared several young : 
one was red over the whole back, but with the tail as 
blue as that of the rock-pigeon ; the terminal bar, how- 
ever, 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 Mas 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 rechiish ; the wings presented two dis- 
tinct bars of a red colour ; the tail was not barred, but 
the outer feathers were edged with white. I crossed this 

a« < Leg pigeons,' 4c, p. 37. 


last curiously colored bird with a black mongrel of com- 
plicated 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 red- 
dish wing-bars, paler than the rest of the body, with the 
croup pale blue, the tail bluish, with a trace of the termi- 
nal bar. 

Mr. Eaton " matched two short-faced tumblers, name- 
ly, 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 pre- 
sented 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-cov- 
erts red; the race existed as least as long ago as 1676, 
and now breeds perfectly true, as was known to be the 
case in the year 1735. 28 Barbs aue uniformly-colored 
birds, with rarely even a trace of bars on the wing or 
tail; they are known to breed very true. The mongrels 
thus raised were black or nearly black, or dark or pale 
brown, sometimes slightly piebald with white : of these 
birds no less than six presented double wing-bars ; in 
two the bars were conspicuous and quite black; in seven 
some white feathers appeared on the croup ; and in two 
or three there was a trace of the terminal bar to the tail, 
but in none were the outer tail-feathers edged with white. 

I crossed black barbs (of two excellent strains) Avith 
purely-bred, snow-white fantails.^. The mongrels were 
genei'ally quite black, with a few of the primary wing 

- 7 ' Treatise on Pigeons,' 1S5S, p. 145. 

" 3 J. Moore's ' Coluaibarium,' 1735, in J. M. Eaton's e.lition, 1S52, p. Tl. 


and tail-feathers white : others were dark reddish-brown, 
and others snow-white : none had a trace of wing-bars 
or of the white croup. I then paired together two of 
these mongrels, namely, a brown and black bird, and 
their offspring displayed wing-bars, faint, but of a darker 
brown than the rest of body. In a second brood from 
the same parents a brown bird was produced, with seve- 
ral white feathers confined to the croup. 

I crossed a male dun dragon belonging to a ftimily 
which had been dun-coloured without wing-bars during 
several generations, with a uniform red barb (bred from 
two black barbs) ; and the offspring presented decided 
but faint traces of wing-bars. I crossed a uniform red 
male runt with a white trumpeter ; and the offspring 
had a slaty-blue tail, with a bar at the end, and with the 
outer feathers edged with white. I also crossed a female 
black and white chequered trumpeter (of a different 
strain from the last) with a male almond-tumbler, neither 
of which exhibited a trace of blue, or of the white croup, 
or of the bar at end of tail : nor is it probable that the 
progenitors of these two birds had for many generations 
exhibited any of these characters, for I have never even 
heard of a blue trumpeter in this country, and my al- 
mond-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 ten- 
dency to become by reversion blue ; and this fact of the 
persistency of colour in the tail and tail-coverts a9 will 
surprise no one wdio has attended to the crossing of 

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


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. Neverthe- 
less 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, pro- 
duced a bird of the same general blue colour, together 
with every characteristic mark, as in the wild Golumba 

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 pa- 
rents or great-grandpai'ents was blue, but not chequered. 
I crossed a male blue turbit with a snow-white trumpet- 
er, 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 ma y here add a remark made to 
me by Mr. Wicking, who has had more experience than 
any other person in England in breeding pigeons of 
various colours : namely, that when a blue, or a blue and 
chequered bird, having black wing-bars, once appears in 
any raee 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 poloiu', with the same characteristic marks, vary- 
ing in the same manner, as in Columba livia ? If we 
admit that these races have all descended from C. livid, 
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 gen- 
eration, during the course of only three or four years, a 
considerable number of young birds, more or less plainly 
coloured blue, and with most of the characteristic marks. 
When black and white, or black and red birds, are crossed, 
it would appear that a slight tendency exists in both pa- 
rents to produce blue offspring, and that this, Avhen com- 
bined, overpowers the separate tendency in either parent 
to produce black, or white, or red offspring. 

If we reject the belief that all the races of the pigeon 
are the modified descendants of C. livia, and suppose that 
they are descended from several aboriginal stocks, then 


we must choose between the three following assumptions : 
firstly, that at least eight or nine species formerly existed 
which were aboriginally coloured m various ways, but 
have since varied in so exactly the same manner as to 
assume the colouring of G. livid ; but this assumption 
throws not the least light on the appearance of such col- 
ours and marks when the races are crossed. Or secondly, 
we may assume that the aboriginal species were all col- 
oured blue, and had the wing-bars and other characteristic 
marks of 0. livid, — a supposition which is highly im- 
probable, as besides this one species no existing member 
of the Colurabidse presents these combined characters ; 
and it would not be possible to find any other instance of 
several species identical in plumage, yet as different in 
important points of structure as are pouters, fantails, car- 
riers, tumblers, &c. Or lastly, we may assume that all 
the races, whether descended from C livia or from several 
aboriginal species, although they have been bred with so 
much care and are so highly valued by finders, have all 
been crossed within a dozen or score of generations with 
C. livid, 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 cross- 
ed with C. livid 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 ances- 
tors 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 suc- 
ceeding generations, as in each there will be less and less 
of the blood of the foreign breed ; but when there has been 
no cross with a distinct breed, and there is a tendency in 
both parents to revert to some long-lost character, this 
tendency, for all that we can see to the contrary, may be 
transmitted undiminished for an indefinite number of 
generations. These two distinct cases of reversion are 


often confounded together by those "who have written on 

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 occa- 
sional appearance in all the races, both when purely bred 
and more especially when crossed, of blue birds, some- 
times chequered, With double wing-bars, with white or 
blue croups, Avith 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 enu- 

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 seve- 
ral races. Firstly, the improbability that so many spe- 
cies should still exist somewhere, but be unknown to 
ornithologists, or that they should have become within 
the historical period extinct, although man has had 
so little influence in exterminating the wild C. livia. 
Secondly, the improbability of man in former times 
having thoroughly domesticated and rendered fertile 
under confinement so many species. Thirdly, these sup- 
posed species having nowhere become feral. Fourthly, 
the extraordinary fiict that man should, intentionally or 
by chance, have chosen for domestication several species, 
extremely abnormal in character; and furthermore, the 
points of structure which render these supposed species 
so abnormal being now highly variable. Fifthly, the 
fact of all the races, though differing in many important 
points of structure, producing perfectly fertile mongrels ; 
whilst all the hybrids which have been produced between 


even closely allied species in the pigeon-family are sterile. 
Sixthly, the remarkable statements just given on the 
tendency in all the races, both when purely bred and 
when crossed, to revert in numerous minute details of 
colouring to the character of the wild rock-pigeon, and 
to vary in a similar manner. To these arguments may 
be added the extreme improbability that a number of 
species formerly existed, which differed greatly from each 
other in some few points, but which resembled each other 
as closely as do the domestic races in other points of 
structure, in voice, and in all their habits of life. When 
these several facts and arguments are fairly taken into 
consideration, it would require an overwhelming amount 
of evidence to make us admit that the chief domestic 
races are descended from several aboriginal stocks ; and 
of such evidence there is absolutely none. 

The belief that the chief domestic races are descended 
from several wild stocks no doubt has arisen from the 
apparent improbability of such great modifications of 
structure having been effected since man first domesti- 
cated the rock-pigeon. Nor am I surprised at any degree 
of hesitation in admitting their common 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 modi- 
fications. Therefore I have argued the question of their 
origin at great, and, as some will think, superfluous 

Finally, in favour of the belief that all the races are 
descended from a single stock, we have in Columbia livia 
a still existing and widely distributed species, which can 
be and has been domesticated in various countries. This 
species agrees in most points of structure and in all its 
habits of life, as well as occasionally in every detail of 
plumage, with the several domestic races. It breeds 


freely with them, and produces fertile offspring. It 
varies in a state of nature, 30 and still more so when semi- 
domesticated, as shown by comparing the Sierra Leone 
pigeons with those of India, or with those which appa- 
rently 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 centu- 
ries. 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 gradu- 
ated differences not greater than those which may be 
observed between the dovecot-pigeons inhabiting differ- 
ent couuti'ies, or between the various kinds of toy- 
pigeons, — gradations which must certainly be attributed 
to variation. 

That circumstances have been eminently favourable for 
the modification of the pigeon through variation and 
selection will now be shown. The earliest record, as has 
been pointed out to me by Professor Lepsius, of pigeons 
in a domesticated condition, occurs in the fifth Egyptian 
dynasty, about 3000 b.c. ; 31 but Mr. Birch, of the British 
Museum, informs me that the pigeon appears in a bill of 
fare in the previous dynasty. Domestic pigeons are 
mentioned in Genesis, Leviticus, and Isaiah. 32 In the 

30 It deserves notice, as bearing on the 32 The ' Dovecote,' by the Rev. E. S. 

general subject of variation, that not only Dixon, 1851, pp. 11-13. Adolphe Pictet 

C. liria presents several wild forms, re- (in his ' Les Origines Indo-Europeennes,' 

garded by some naturalists as species 1S59, p. 399) states that there are in the 

and by others as sub-species or as mere ancient Sanscrit language between 25 

varieties, but that the species of several and 30 names for the pigeon, and other 

allied genera are in the same predica- 15 or 16 Persian names ; none. of these 

ment. This is the case, as Mr. Blyth are common to the European languages. 

has remarked to me, with Treron, Palum- This fact indicates the antiquity of the 

bus, and Turtur. domestication in the East of the pigeon. 

»» 'Denkmaler,' Abth. ii. Bl. 70. 


time of the Romans, as we hear from Pliny, 33 immense 
prices were given for pigeons ; " nay, they are come to 
this pass, that they can reckon up their pedigree and 
race." In India, about the year 1600, pigeons were much 
valued by Akber Khan : 20,000 birds were carried about 
with the court, and the merchants brought valuable 
collections. " The monarchs 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 astonish- 
ingly." 34 Akber Khan possessed seventeen distinct kinds, 
eight of which were valuable for beauty alone. At about 
this same pei-iod of 1600 the Dutch, according to Aldro- 
vandi, were as eager about pigeons as the Romans had 
formerly been. The breeds which were kept during the 
fifteenth century in Europe and in India apparently dif- 
fered 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 1 737. In England, from the time of Willughby 
in 1678 to the present day, as well as in Germany and in 
France, numerous treatises have been published on the 
pigeon. In India, about a hundred years ago, a Persian 
treatise was written ; and the writer thought it no light 
affair, for he begins with a solemn invocation, " in the 
name of God, the gracious and merciful." Many large 
towns, in Europe and the United States, now have their 
societies of devoted pigeon-fanciers : at present there are 
three such societies in London. In India, as I hear from 
Mr. Blyth, the inhabitants of Delhi and of some other 

83 English translation, 1601, book x. 34 ' Ayeen Akbery,' translated by F. 

ch. xxxvii. Gladvin, 4to. edit., vol. 1. p. 270. 

Chap. vi. FORMATION OF RACES. 251 

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 ai*e 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 Constanti- 
nople, 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 pas- 
sionately devoted to the breeding of pigeons. Hear how 
an enthusiastic fancier at the present day writes : " If it 
were possible for noblemen and gentlemen to know the 
amazing amount of solace and pleasure derived from 
Almond Tumblers, when they begin to understand their 
properties, I should think that scarce any nobleman or 
gentleman would be without their aviaries of Almond 
Tumblers." 3B The pleasure thus taken is of paramount 
importance, as it leads amateurs carefully to note and 
preserve each slight deviation of structure which strikes 
their fancy. Pigeons are often closely confined during 
their whole lives ; they do not partake of their naturally 
varied diet ; they have often been transported from one 
climate to another ; and all these changes in their condi- 
tions 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 obvi- 
ously favours the chance of rare modifications of structure 

** J. M. Eaton, ' Treatise on the Almond Tumbler,' 1&51 ; Preface, g. vl. 


occasionally appearing. Slight variations of all kinds 
would almost certainly be observed, and, if valued, would, 
owing to the following circumstances, be preserved and 
propagated with unusual facility. Pigeons, differently 
from any other domesticated animal, can easily be mated 
for life, and, though kept with other pigeons, they rarely 
prove unfaithful to each other. Even when the male 
does break his marriage vow, he does not permanently 
desert his mate. I have bred in the same aviaries many 
pigeons of different kinds, and never reared a single bird 
of an impure strain. Hence a fancier can with the great- 
est 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 excellent food. To 
sum up, pigeons are easily kept, paired, and selected ; vast 
numbers have been reared ; great zeal in breeding them 
has been shown by many men in various countries ; and 
this would lead to their close discrimination, and to a 
sti-ong 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 been 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 in- 
teresting 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 remark- 
able for their voices, seem to have been perfectly characterized in 
1735 ; and Laughers were apparently known in India before the 
year 1600. Spots in 1676, and Nuns in the time of Aldrovandi, be- 
fore 1600, were coloured exactly as they now are. Common Tum- 

•• As in the following discussion I state that this chapter was completed in 
often speak of the present time, I should the year 1853. 


biers and Ground Tumblers exhibited in India, before the year 1600, 
tlic same extraordinary peculiarities of flight as at the present day, 
for they are well described in the ' Ayeen Akbery.' These breeds 
may all have existed for a much longer period ; we know only that 
they were perfectly characterized at the dates above given. The 
a r, rage length of life of the domestic pigeon is probably about five or 
six years ; if so, some of these races have retained their character 
perfectly for at least forty or fifty generations. 

Pouters. — These birds, as far as a very short description serves for 
comparison, appear to have been well characterized in Aldnovandi's 
time," before the year 1600. Length of body and length of leg are 
at the present time the two chief points of excellence. In 1735 
Moore said (see Mr. J. M. Eaton's edition) — and Moore was a first- 
rate fancier — that he once saw a bird with a body 20 inches in length, 
" though 17 or 18 inches is reckoned a very good length ;" and he 
has seen the legs very nearly 7 inches in length, yet a leg Qi or 6| 
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 pre- 
sent (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 7+ 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 7-J- inches in length. The ex- 
tremely 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. 

Pintails. — The first notice of the existence of this breed is in In- 
dia, before the year 1600, as given in the ' Ayeen Akbery f S9 at this 
date, judging from Aldrovandi, the breed was unknown in Europe. 
In 1677 VVillughby speaks of a Fantail with 26 tail-feathers ; in 

> 7 ' Ornithologie,' 1600, vol. ii. p. 360. 3a Mr. Blyth has given a translation 

* 8 ' A Treatise on Domestic Pigeons,' of part of the 'Ayeen Akbery' in ' An- 

dedicated to Mr. Mayor, 1765. Preface, nals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. xix., 

P. rf* 1S47, p. 104. 


1735 Moore saw one with 36 feathers j 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 in- 
ferior 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 Ins birds, a first-rate specimen sent to me 
had only 14 tail-feathers. 

Jacobins. — This breed existed before 1600, but the hood, judging 
from the figure given by Aldrovandi, did not enclose the head nearly 
so perfectly as at present : nor was the head then white ; nor were 
the wings and tail so long, but this last character might have been 
overlooked by the rude artist. In Moore's time, in 1 735, the Jacobin 
was considered the smallest kind of pigeon, and the bill is said to 
be very short. Hence either the Jacobin, or the other kinds with 
which it was then compared, must 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 resembling that of the Jacobin, which shows 
a change in the one or the other race. The Turbit, with its 
characteristic frill and bearing its present name, is described by 
Willughby in 1677 ; and the bill is said to be like that of the bull- 
finch,— a good comparison, but now more strictly applicable to the 
beak of the Barb. The sub-breed called the Owl was well known in 
Moore's time, in 1735. 

Tumblers. — Common Tumblers, as well as Ground Tumblers, 
perfect'as far as tumbling is concerned, existed in India before the 
year 1600 ; and at this period diversified modes of flight, such as 


flying at night, the ascent to a great height, an»fcmanner 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 in the air that they were 
lost to view, but returned to their pigeon-house without separating." 
This manner of flight is characteristic of our present Tumblers, but 
it is clear that Belon would have mentioned the act of tumbling if 
the pigeons described by him had tumbled. Tumblers were not 
known in Europe in 1600, as they are not mentioned by Aldrovandi, 
who discusses the flight of pigeons. They are briefly alluded to by 
Willughby, in 1687, as small pigeons "which show like footballs in 
the air." The short-faced race did not exist at this period, as Wil- 
lughby could not have overlooked birds so remarkable for their 
small size and short beaks. We can even trace some of the steps 
by which this race has been produced. Moore in 1735 enumerates 
correctly the chief points of excellence, but does not give any de- 
scription of the several sub-breeds ; and from this fact Mr. Eaton in- 
fers 41 that the short-faced Tumbler had not then come to full per- 
fection. Moore even speaks of the Jacobin as being the smallest 
pigeon. Thirty years afterwards, in 1765, in the Treatise dedicated 
to Mayor, short-faced Almond Tumblers are fully described, but the 
author, an excellent fancier, expressly states in his Preface (p. xiv.) 
that, " from great care and expense in breeding them, they have 
arrived to so great perfection and are so different from what they 
were 20 or 30 years past, that an old fancier would have condemned 
them for no other reason than because they are not like what used 
to be thought good when he was in the fancy before." Hence it 
would appear that there was a rather sudden change in the charac- 
ter 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 (ascer- 
tained 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 

40 ' L'Hist. de la Nature des Oiseaux,' p. 314. 

41 ' Treatise on Pigeons,' 18o2, p. 64. 


a " head and beak 'jfwas considered good, 42 which, measured in the 
usual manner, was -J of an inch in length ; now it ought not to ex- 
ceed f of an inch ; " it is however possible," as Mr. Eaton candidly 
confesses, " for a bird to be considered as pleasant or neat even at | 
of an inch, but exceeding that length it must be looked upon as un- 
worthy 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 atten- 
tion cannot be doubted, considering his success in winning prizes 
at our exhibitions. Finally in regard to the Tumbler it may be con- 
cluded from the facts above given that it was originally introduced 
into Europe, probably first into England, from the East ; and that it 
then resembled our common English Tumbler, or more probably the 
Persian or Indian Tumbler, with a beak only just perceptibly shorter 
than that of the common dovecot-pigeon. With respect to the 
short-faced Tumbler, which is not known to exist in the East, there 
can hardly be a doubt that the whole wonderful change in the size 
of the head, beak, body, and feet, and in general carriage, has been 
produced during the last two centuries by continued selection, aided 
probably by the birth of a semi-monstrous bird somewhere about the 
year 1750. 

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

Barbs. — Notwithstanding statements to the contrary, it seems to 
me impossible to recognise the barb in Aldrovandi's 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. Lidica, Cretensis, Outturosa, and Persica. Willughby 
thought that the Golumba Indica was a Turbit, but the eminent 
fancier Mr. Brent believes that it was an inferior Barb : C. Cretensis, 
with a short beak and a swelling on the upper mandible, cannot be 
recognised: C. (falsely called) gutturosa, which from its rostrum, 
breve, crassum, et tuberosum seems to me to come nearest to the 

42 J. M. Eaton's ' Treatise on the Tumbler,' 1851. Compare p. v. of Pre- 
Breeding and Managing of the Almond face, p. 9, and p. 52. 


Barb, Mr. Brent believes to be a Carrier ; and lastly, the C. Pcndca 
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 Willnghby 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 breadth. 

English Currier. — 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 conspicuous for the extra- 
ordinary length of their beaks. The old names given in Europe 
to the Carrier, and the several names now in use in India, indicate 
that Carriers originally came from Persia ; and Willughby's de- 
scription would perfectly apply to the Bussorah Carrier as it now 
exists in Madras. In later times we can partially trace the progress 
of change in our English Carriers : Moore in 1735 says " an inch 
and a half is reckoned a long beak, though there are very good 
Carriers that are found not to exceed an inch and a quarter." 
These birds must have resembled, or perhaps been a little superior 
to, the Carriers previously described, which are now found in 
Persia. In England at the present day " there are," as Mr. Eaton 48 
states-, " beaks that would measure (from edge of eye to tip of beak) 
one inch and three-quarters, and some few even two inches in 

From these historical details we see that nearly all the 
chief domestic races existed before the year 1600. Some 
remarkable only for colour appear to have been identical 
with our present breeds, some were nearly the same, 
some considerably different, and some have since become 
extinct. Several breeds, such as Fiunikins and Turners, 
the swallow-tailed pigeon of Bechstein and the Carme- 
lite, seem both to have originated and to have disap- 
peared within this same period. Any one now visiting 
a well stocked English aviary would certainly pick out 

« ' Treatise on Pigeons,' 1S52, p. 41. 


as the most distinct kinds, the massive Runt, the Carrier 
with its wonderfully elongated beak and great wattles, 
the Barb with its short broad beak and eye-wattles, the 
short-faced Tumbler with its small conical beak, the 
Pouter with its great crop, long legs and body, the Fan- 
tail with its upraised, widely-expanded, well-feathered 
tail, the Tux-bit with its frill and short blunt beak, and 
the Jacobin with its 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 Tux-- 
bit apparently without its frill ; the Pouter with shorter 
legs, and in every way less x-emarkable — that is, if Aldro- 
vandi's Pouter x-esembled the old German kind ; the Fan- 
tail would have been far less singular in appearance, and 
would have had much fewer feathex-s in its tail ; he woxxld 
have seen excellent flying Txxmblex-s, but he woxxld in 
vain have looked for the nxarvellous shox-t-faced breeds ; 
he would have seen birds allied to barbs, but it is ex- 
tremely doubtful whether he would have met with our 
actual Barbs ; and lastly, he woxxld have found Carriers 
with beaks and wattle incomparably less developed thaxi 
in our English Cax-riex-s. He might have classed most of 
the breeds in the same groxxps as at present ; but the 
differences between the groxxps wex-e then far less strong- 
ly px-onounced than at present. In short, the several 
bx-eeds had at this eax*ly period not divex*ged in so gx-eat 
a degree from their aboriginal common parent, the wild 

Manner of Formation of the chief Maces. 

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 match- 
ing them, they are liable to little more variation than the 


wild C. livid, 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 C. Uvia is not known to exist), they are exposed to 
new conditions 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 abun- 
dantly fed, whilst debarred from taking much exercise. 
Under these circumstances we might expect to find, from 
the analogy of all other domesticated animals, a greater 
amount of individual variability than with the wild 
pigeon; and this is the case. The want o exercise ap- 
parently tends to reduce the size of the feet and organs 
of flight ; and then, from the law of correlation of 
growth, the beak apparently becomes affected. From 
what we now see occasionally taking place in our aviaries, 
we may conclude that sudden variations or sports, such 
as the appearance of a crest of feathers on the head, of 
feathered feet, of a new shade of colour, of an additional 
feather in the tail or wing, would occur at- rare intervals 
during the many centuries which have elapsed since the 
pigeon was first domesticated. At the present day such 
" sports " are generally rejected as blemishes ; and there 
is so much mystery in the breeding of pigeons that, if 
a valuable sport did occur, its history would often be 
concealed. Before the last hundred and fifty years, there 
is hardly a chance of the history of any such sport hav- 
ing 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 re- 
jected. We are profoundly ignorant of the cause of 


each sudden and apparently spontaneous variation, as 
well as of the infinitely numerous shades of difference 
between the birds of the same family. But in a future 
chapter we shall see that all such variations appear to be 
the indirect result of changes of some kind in the con- 
ditions of life. 

Hence, after a long course of domestication, we might 
expect to see in the pigeon much individual variability, 
and occasional sudden variations, as well as slight modi- 
fications 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 re- 
sult ; for without such aid differences of all kinds' would, 
from the two following causes, soon disappear. In a 
healthy and vigorous lot of pigeons many more young 
birds are killed for food or- die than are reared to matu- 
rity ; so that an individual having any peculiar character, 
if not selected, would run a good chance, of being destroy- 
ed, and if not destroyed, the peculiarity in question would 
almost certainly be obliterated by free intercrossing. It 
might, however, occasionally happen that the same varia- 
tion repeatedly occurred, owing to the action of peculiar 
and uniform conditions of life, and in this case it would pre- 
vail 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 fa- 
vourable for selection. When a bird presenting some 
conspicuous variation has been preserved, and its offspring 
have been selected, carefully matched, *and again propa- 
gated, and so onwards during successive generations, the 
principle is so obvious that nothing more need be said 
about it. This may be called methodical selection, for 
the breeder has a distinct object in view, namely, to pre- 
serve some character which has actually appeared ; or to 
create some improvement already pictured in his mind. 

Another form of selection has hardly been noticed by 


those authors who have discussed this subject, but is even 
more important. This form may be called unconscious 
selection, for the breeder selects his birds unconsciously, 
Unintentionally, and without method, yet he surely though 
slowly produces a great result. I refer to the effects which 
follow from each fancier at first procuring and afterwards 
rearing as good birds as he can, according to his skill, 
and according to the standard of excellence at each suc- 
cessive 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 dur- 
ing many generations of successive slight changes: he is 
content if he possesses a good stock, and more than con- 
tent if he can beat his rivals. The fancier in the time of 
Aldrovandi, when in the year 1600 he admired his own 
jacobins, pouters, or carriers, never reflected what their 
descendants in the year 1860 would become; he would 
have been astonished could he have seen our jacobins, our 
improved English carriers, and our pouters; he would 
probably have denied that they were the descendants of 
his own once admired stock, and he would perhaps not 
have valued them, for no other reason, as was written in 
1765, "than because they were not like what used to be 
thought good when he was in the fancy." No one will 
attribute the lengthened beak of the carrier, the shorten- 
ed 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 w r ays, though kept under the same cli- 
mate 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 suc- 
cessive 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 ex- 
aggerate every peculiarity in his breeds. A great autho- 
rity on pigeons 44 says, " Fanciers do not and will not ad- 
mire a medium standard, that is, half and half, which is 
neither here nor there, but admire extremes." After re- 
marking 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 fan- 
ciei-s, 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 Aldro- 
vandi, no doubt the more the pouter inflated his crop, the 
more he was valued. Nevertheless, fashions do to a cer- 
tain extent change ; first one point of sti'ucture 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 tho- 

** Eaton's ' Treatise on Pigeons,' 1858, p. 86. 


rough 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 un- 
conscious selection that fanciers would not observe or 
care for extremely slight differenoes. 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 aud labour which they bestow 
on their birds. I have known a fancier deliberately study 
his birds day after day to settle which to match together 
and which to reject. Observe how difficult the subject 
appears to one of the most eminent and experienced fan- 
ciers. 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 lit- 
tle about all the kinds, but nothing about one as it ought 
to be known." " It is possible there may be a few fan- 
ciers that have a good general knoAvledge 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 fan- 
ciers who are over covetous go in for all the five proper- 
ties at once, and they have their reward by getting 
nothing." In India, as I hear from Mr. Blyth, pigeons 
arc 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 ener- 
getic fancier may be fully satisfied by the difficulty of ex- 
celling other fanciers in the breeds ah-eady established, 
without trying to form a new one. 

A difficulty with respect to the power of selection will 
perhaps already have occurred to the reader, namely, 
what could have led fanciers first to attempt to make 
such singular breeds ,as pouters, fantails, carriers, &c. ? 
But it is this very difficulty which the principle of un- 
conscious 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 

45 See Neumeister's figure of the Florence runt, tab. 13, in 'Das Ganze der Tau- 


the order of the Emperor Akber Khan were sedulously 
trained and carefully matched. 

In the foregoing cases we have supposed that a sudden 
variation, conspicuous enough to catch a fancier's eye, 
first appeared ; but even this degree of abruptness in the 
process of variation is not necessary for the formation of 
a new breed. "When the same kind of pigeon has been 
kept pure, and has been bred during a long period by 
two or more fanciers, slight differences in the strain can 
often be recognised. Thus I have seen first-rate jacobins 
in one man's possession which certainly differed slightly 
in several characters from those kept by another. I pos- 
sessed 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 fan- 
ciers, 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 fanciei's have exactly the same taste, 
and consequently no two, in choosing and carefully 
matching their birds, prefer or select exactly the same. 
As each man naturally admires his own birds, he goes on 
continually exaggerating by selection whatever slight 
peculiarities they may possess. This will more especially 
happen with fanciers living in different countries, who 
do not compare their stocks and aim at a common stand- 
ard of perfection. Thus, when a mere strain has once 


been formed, unconscious selection steadily tends to 
augment the amount of difference, and thus converts the 
strain into a sub-breed, and this ultimately into a well- 
marked breed or race. 

The principle of correlation of growth should never be 
lost sight of. Most pigeons have small feet, apparently 
caused by their lessened use, and from correlation, as it 
would appear, their beaks have likewise become reduced 
in length. The beak is a conspicuous organ, and, as 
soon as it had thus become perceptibly shortened, fanciers 
would almost certainly strive to reduce it still more by 
the continued selection of birds with the shortest beaks ; 
whilst at the same time other fanciers, as we know has 
actually been the case, would, in other sub-breeds, strive 
to increase its length. With the increased length of the 
beak, the tongue would become greatly lengthened, as 
would the eyelids with the increased development 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 vertebrae 
would be augmented. These important and correlated 
differences of structure do not invariably characterise 
any breed ; but if they had been attended to and selected 
with as much care as the more conspicuous external 
differences, there can hardly be a doubt that they would 
have been rendered constant. Fanciers could assuredly 
have made a race of tumblers with nine instead of ten 
primary wing-feathers, seeing how often the number nine 
appears without any wish on their part, and indeed in 
the case of the white-winged varieties in opposition to 
their wish. In a similar manner, if the vertebrae had 
been visible and had been attended to by fanciers, as- 
suredly an additional number might easily have been 
fixed in the poutei*. 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 im- 
proved parent-stocks and many subsequently formed 
intermediate grades become extinct. This has occurred 
in the oase of the pouter, turbit, and trumpeter, for these 
highly improved bi*eeds 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 tum- 
bler and carrier, which there differ but slightly from the 
rock-pigeon in the proportions of their beaks. So again 
in Java, the fantail sometimes has only fourteen caudal 
feathers, and the tail is much less elevated and - expanded 
than in our improved birds ; so that the Java bird forms 
a link between a first-rate fantail and the rock-pigeon. 

Occasionally a breed may be retained for some particu- 
lar 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 tum- 
bler, 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 quali- 
ties. 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 insensible process of uncon- 
scious 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 diffi- 
culty in retaining such a host of intermediate sub-varie- 

The principle of divergence, together with the extinc- 
tion of the many previously existing intermediate forms, 
is so important for understanding the origin of domestic 
races, as well as of species in a state of nature, that I 
will enlarge a little more on this subject. Our third main 
group includes carriers, barbs, and runts, which are 
plainly related to each other, yet wonderfully distinct in 
several important characters. According to the view given 
in the last chapter, these three races have probably de- 
scended from an unknown race having an intermediate cha- 
racter 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 
structm-e; 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 wat- 
tle, — 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 
extinction of the earlier, inferior, and intermediate birds; 
and thus it has come to pass, that in Europe these three 
races are now so extraordinarily distinct from each other. 
But in the East, whence they were originally brought, 


the fashion has boon 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 au- 
thorities cannot now identify with our present barbs and 
carriers; nor can Aldrovandi's runts be identified with 
our present runts. These four breeds certainly did not 
differ from each other nearly so much as do our existing 
English carriers, barbs, and runts. All this is exactly 
what might have been anticipated. If we could collect 
all the pigeons which have ever lived, from before the 
time of the Romans to the present day, we should be 
able to group them in several lines, diverging from the 
parent rock-pigeon. Each line would consist of almost 
insensible steps, occasionally broken by some slightly 
greater variation or sport, and each would culminate in 
one of our present highly modified forms. Of the many- 
former connecting links, some would be found to have 
become absolutely extinct without having left any issue, 
whilsX others though extinct would be seen to be the 
progenitors of the existing races. 

I have heard it remarked as a strange circumstance 
that we occasionally hear of the local or complete ex- 
tinction of domestic races, whilst we hear nothing of their 
origin. How, it has been asked, can these losses be com- 
pensated, and more than compensated, for we know that 
with almost all domesticated animals the races have largely 
increased in number since the time of the Romans ? But 
on the view here given, we can understand this apparent 
contradiction. The extinction of a race within historical 
times is an event likely to be noticed ; but its gradual 
and scarcely sensible modification through unconscious 
selection, and its subsequent divergence, either in the 
same or more commonly in distant countries, into two or 


more strains, and their gradual conversion into sub-breeds, 
and these into well-marked breeds, are events which 
would rarely he noticed. The death of a tree, that has 
attained gigantio 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 con- 
ditions of life, except in causing general variability or 
plasticity of organisation, it is not surprising that dovecof- 
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 sym- 
metrically 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 
fanciei*, and there is no known limit to the variability of 
their characters. What is there to stop the fancier 
desiring to give to his carrier a longer and longer beak, 
or to his tumbler a shorter and shorter beak ? nor has the 
extreme limit of variability in the beak, if there be any 
such limit, as yet been reached. Notwithstanding the 
great improvement effected within recent times in the 
short-faced almond tumbler, Mr. Eaton remarks, "the 
field is still as open for fresh competitors as it was one 
' hundred years ago ; " but this is perhaps an exaggerated 
assertion, for the young of all highly improved fancy birds 
are extremely liable to disease and death. 

I have heard it objected that the formation of the 
several domestic races of the pigeon throws no light on 


the origin of the wild species of the Columbidre, 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 
characters selected by the caprice of man should resemble 
differences preserved under natural conditions, either from 
being of direct service to each species, or from standing 
in correlation with other modified and serviceable struc- 
tures. 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 scutellse. With 
respect to the domestic races not roosting or building in 
trees, it is obvious that fanciers would never attend to or 
select such changes in habits ; but we have seen that the 
pigeons in Egypt, which do not for some reason like 
settling on the low mud hovels of the natives, are led, 
apparently by compulsion, to perch in crowds on the 
trees. We may even affirm that, if our domestic races 
had become greatly modified in any of the above specified 
respects, and it could be shown that fanciers had never 
attended to such points, or that they. did not stand in 
correlation with other selected characters, the fact, on the 
principles advocated in this chapter, would have offered 
a serious difficulty. 

Let us briefly sum up the last two chapters on the 
pigeon. We may conclude with confidence that all the 


domestic races, notwithstanding their great amount of 
difference, are descended from the Columba livia, includ- 
ing under this name certain wild races. But the differ-, 
ences between these latter forms throw no light whatever 
on the characters which distinguish the domestic races. 
In each breed or sub-breed the individual birds are more 
variable than birds in a state of nature ; and occasional- 
ly 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 or- 
ganisation 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 modi- 
fication, aqd has even produced new sub-breeds. But as, 
in the construction of a building, mere stones or bricks 
are of little avail without the builder's art, so, in the pro- 
duction 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 modi- 
fy 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 extinc- 
tion of the earlier and less improved forms, as well as of 
many intermediate links in each long line of descent, 
Thus it has come to pass that most of our present races 
are so marvellously distinct from each other, and from the 
aboriginal rock-pigeon. 

Chat. VII. FOWLS. 273 




As some naturalists may not be familiar with the chief 
breeds of the fowl, it will be advisable to give a con- 
densed description of them. 1 From what I have read and 
seen of specimens brought from several quarters of the 
world, I believe that most of the chief kinds have been 
imported into England, but many sub-breeds are proba- 
bly still here unknown. The following discussion on the 
origin of the various breeds and on their characteristic 
differences does not pretend to completeness, but maybe 
of some interest to the naturalist. The classification of 
the breeds cannot, as far as I can see, be made natural. 

1 I have drawn up this brief synopsis ed me in every possible way in obtaining 

from various sources, but chiefly from for me information and specimens. I 

information given me by Mr. Tegetmeier. must not let this opportunity pass with- 

This gentleman has kindly looked* out expressing my cordial thanks to Mr. 

through the whole of this chapter ; and B. P. Brent, a well-known writer on poul- 

from his well-known knowk-dge, the try, for indefatigable assistance and the 

statements here given may be fully trust- gift of many specimens. 
ed. Mr. Tegetmeier has likewise assist- 




Chap. VII. 

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 

0. — Spanish Fowl. 

roads from a single type. Each chief breed includes dif- 
ferently coloured sub-varieties, most of which can be truly 
propagated, but it would be superfluous to describe them. 
I have classed the various crested fowls as sub-breeds 
under the Polish fowl ; but I have great doubts whether 


this is a natural ai-rangement, showing true affinity or 
blood relationship. It is scarcely possible to avoid laying 
stress on the commonness of a breed ; and if certain for- 
eign 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 nor- 
mal and abnormal, but the result was wholly unsatisfac- 

1. Game Breed, — This may be considered as the typical breed, 
as it deviates only slightly from the wild Gallus bankica, or, as per- 
haps more correctly named, ferrvgiaeus. 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 col- 
oured varieties exist, such as black and brown-breasted reds, duck- 
wings, 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. Disposition savage. Of Eastern origin. 

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

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

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

5. Spanish Breed. — Tall, with stately carriage ; tarsi long ; comb 

2 76 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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 Andalusimis maybe 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 Breed (fig. 31). — Size moderate ; comb fiat, pro- 
duced backwards, covered with numerous small points ; wattle of 
moderate dimensions ; ear-lobe white ; legs blueish, thin. Do not 
incubate. Skull, with the tips of the ascending branches of the 
premaxillary and with the nasal bones standing a little separate 
from each other ; anterior margin of the frontal bones less de- 
pressed 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 protube- 
rance of the frontal bones, which includes the anterior part of the 
brain. The ascending branches of the premaxillary bones and the 
inner nasal processes are much shortened. The orifice of the nos- 
trils raised and ci*escentic. Beak short. Comb absent, or small and 
of crescentic shape ; wattles either present or replaced by a beard- 
like tuft of feathers. Legs leaden-blue. Sexual differences appear 
late in life. Do not incubate. There are several beautiful varieties 
which differ in colour and slightly in other respects. 

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

Sub-breed (a) Sultans. — A Turkish breed, resembling white Polish 
fowls, with a large crest and beard, with short and well-feathered 
legs. The tail is furnished with additional sickle feathers. Do not 
incubate. 2 

2 The best account of Sultans is by the examination of some specimens of 
Miss Watts in ' The Poultry Yard,' 1856, this breed. 
p. 79. I owe to Mr. Brent's kindness 

Chat. VII. 



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

Fig. 31.— Hamburgh Fowl. 

Sub-breed (c) Ghoondooks. — Another Turkish breed having an ex- 
traordinary 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-cmir. — A French breed of large size, barely 
capable of flight, with short black legs, head crested, comb produced 
into two points or horns, sometimes a little branched like the horns 
of a stag ; both beard and wattles present. Eggs large. Disposi- 
tion quiet. 3 

3 A good description with figures is given of this sub-breed in the 'Journal of Hor- 
ticulture,' June 10th, 1SG2, p. 206. 

278 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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

Sub-breed (/) Houdan. — A French breed ; of moderate size, short- 
legged with five toes, wings well developed ; plumage invariably 
mottled with black, white, and straw-yellow; head furnished 'with 
a crest, and a triple comb placed transversely; both»wattles and 
beard present. 4 

Sub-breed (g) Ouelderlands. — No comb, head said to be surmoun- 
ted 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 Guelderland. 

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

9. Bump-less FoWLS.-~-These are so variable in character 6 that 
they hardly deserve to be called a breed. Any one who will exam- 
ine the caudal vertebrae will see how monstrous the breed is. 

10. Creepers or Jumpers. — These are characterized by an al- 
most monstrous shortness of legs, so that they move by jumping 
rather than by walking ; they are said not to scratch up the ground. 
I have examined a Burmese variety, which had a skull of rather un- 
usual shape. 

11. Frizzled or Cappre Fowls. — Not uncommon in India, with 
the feathers curling backwards, and with the primary feathers of the 
wing and tail imperfect ; periosteum of bones black. 

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

13. Sooty Fowls. — An Indian breed, of a white colour stained 
with soot, with black skin and periosteum. The hens alone are thus 

From this synopsis we see that the several breeds differ 

* A description, with figures, is given mentioned in an ancient native Japanese 

of this breed in ' Journal of Horticul- Encyclopaedia, as I am informed by Mr. 

ture,' June 3rd, 1S62, p. 1S6. Some Birch of the British Museum, 

writers describe the comb as two-horned. 6 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poul- 

a Mr. Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet of the try,' 1848. 
Indian Islands,' p. 113. Bantams are 

Chap. VII. 



considerably, and they would have been nearly as inter- 
esting for us as pigeons, if there had been equally good 

Fig. S2.— Polish Fowl. 

evidence that all had descended from one parent-species. 
Most fanciers believe that they are descended from sev- 
eral primitive stocks. The Rev. E. S. Dixon 7 argues 
strongly on this side of the question ; and one fancier 
-even denounces the opposite conclusion by asking, " Do 
we not perceive pervading this spirit, the spirit of the 

' Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,' l^. 

280 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

Deist f'' Most naturalists/with the exception of a few, 
such as Temminck, believe that all the breeds have pro- 
ceeded from a single species; but authority on such a 
point goes for little. Fanciers look to all parts of the 
world as the possible sources of their unknown stocks ; 
thus ignoring the laws of geographical distribution. They 
know well that the several kinds breed truly even in 
colour. They assert, but, as we shall see, -on very weak 
grounds, that most of the breeds are extremely ancient. 
They are strongly impressed with the great difference 
between the chief kinds, and they ask with force, can dif- 
ferences in climate, food, or treatment have produced 
birds so different as the black stately Spanish, the dimi- 
nutive 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 groAvth — 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 sub- 
ject of unconscious or unmethodical selection, though 
they are well aware that their birds differ individually, 
and that by selecting the best birds for a few generations 
they can improve their stocks. 

An amateur writes 8 as follows. " The fact that poul- 
try have until lately received but little attention at the 
hands of the fancier, and been entirely confined to the 
domains of the producer for the market, would alone 
suggest the improbability of that constant and unremit- 
ting attention having been observed in breeding, which 

8 Ferguson's ' Illustrated Series of Rare aa<t Prize Poultry,' lS5i, p. vi., Preface. 

Cuap. vil. THEIR PARENTAGE. 281 

is requisite to" the consummating, in the offspring of any 
two birds, transmittable forms no texhibited by the pa-' 
rents." This at first sight appears true. But in a future 
chapter on Selection, abundant facts will be given show- 
ing not only that careful breeding, but that actual selec- 
tion was practised during ancient periods, and by barely 
civilised races of man. In the case of the fowl I can ad- 
duce no direct facts showing that selection was ancient- 
ly practised ; but the Romans at the commencement of 
the Christian era kept six or seven breeds, and- Columella 
" particularly recommends as the best, those sorts that 
have five toes^nd white ears." 9 In the fifteenth century 
several breeds were known and describeddn 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," who wrote towards 
the close of the last century, states that in the interior 
parts of South America, where I should not have ex- 
pected that the least care would have been taken of 
poultry, a black-skinned and black-boned breed is kept, 
from being considered fertile and its flesh good for sick 
persons. Now every one who has kept poultry knows 
how impossible it is to keep several breeds distinct unless 
the utmost care be taken in separating the sexes. Will 
it then be pretended that those persons who in ancient 
times and in semi-civilised countries took pains to keep 
the breeds distinct, and who therefore valued them, 
would not occasionally have destroyed inferior birds and 
occasionally have preserved their best birds ? This is all 
that is required. It is not pretended that any one in an- 

• Rev. E. S. Dixon, in his ' Ornamen- tion,' separately printed, p. 6 ; first read 

tal Poultry,' p. 203, gives an account of before the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford, 1869. 

Columella's work. n ' Quadrupedes du Paraguay,' torn. 

10 Mr. Crawfurd ' On the Relation of ii. p. 824. 
the Domesticated Animals to Civiliza- 

282 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

cient times intended to form a new breed* or to modify 
an old breed according to some ideal standard of excel- 
lence. 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 selec- 
tion 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, slpwly have its characteristic differences 
augmented, and at last be converted into a new sub- 
breed or breed. But breeds would often be for a time 
neglected and would deteriorate ; they would, however, 
partially retain their character, and afterwards might 
again come into fashion and be raised to a standard of 
perfection higher than their former standard ; as has ac- 
tually occurred quite recently with Polish fowls. If, how- 
ever, a breed were utterly neglected, it would become 
extinct, as has recently happened with one of the Polish 
sub-breeds. Whenever in the course of past centuries a 
bird appeared with some slight abnormal structure, such 
as with a lark-like crest on its head, it would probably 
often have been preserved from that love of novelty 
which leads some persons in England to keep rumpless 
fowls, and others in India to keep frizzled fowls. And 
after a time any such abnormal appearance would be 
carefully preserved, from being esteemed a sign of the 
purity and excellence of the breed ; for on this principle 
the Romans eighteen centuries ago valued the fifth toe 
and the white ear-lobe in their fowls. 

Thus from the occasional appearance of abnormal cha- 
racters, 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 cor- 


relation of gro wth ; 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 daring 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 sin- 
gle species be named from which we may reasonably 
suppose that all have descended ? The Gallus banJdva 
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. banJciva. 

But it 'will be convenient first briefly to describe all the known 
species of Gallus. The G. Sonneratii does not range into the north- 
ern parts of India ; according to Colonel Sykes, 12 it presents at dif- 
ferent heights on the Ghauts, two strongly marked varieties, perhaps 
deserving to be called species. It was at one time thought to be the 
primitive stock of all our domestic breeds, and this shows that it 
closely approaches the common fowl in general structure ; but its 
hackles partially consist of highly peculiar, horny laminae, trans- 
versely banded with three colours ; and I have met with no au- 
thentic account of any such character having been observed in any 
domestic breed." This species also differs greatly from the com- 
mon fowl, in the comb being finely serrated, and in the loins being 
destitute of true hackles. Its voice is utterly different. It crosses 
readily in India with domestic hens ; and Mr. Blyth M 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 w r ere not quite so 
sterile : Mr. Dixon, as he informed me, made, with Mr. Yarrell's 
aid, particular on this subject, and was assured that out 

12 'Proc Zoloog. Soc.' 1S32, p. 151. those of G. Sonneratii, except that the 

13 I have examined the feathers of hovny lamina; were much smaller, 
some hybrids raised in the Zoological l4 See also an excellent letter on the 
Gardens between the male G. Son- Poultry of India, by Mr. Blyth, in 
neratii and -a red game-hen, 'and these ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1351, p. 619. 
feathers exhibited the true character of 

284 FOWLS. Chap. TIL 

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 Zoolo- 
gical Gardens with almost the same result. 15 Out of 500 eggs, 
raised from various first crosses and hybrids, between G. Sonneratii, 
bankiva, and varius, only 12 chickens were reared, and of these only 
three were the product of hybrids inter se. From these facts, and 
from the above-mentioned strongly-marked differences in structure 
between the domestic fowl and G. Sonneratii, we may reject this 
latter species as the parent of any domestic breed. 

Ceylon possesses a fowl peculiar to the island, viz. G. Stanleyii ; 
this species approaches so closely (except in the colouring of the 
comb) to the domestic fowl, that Messrs. E. Layard and Kellaert I6 
would have considered it, as they inform me, as one of the parent- 
stocks, had it not been for its singularly different voice. This bird, 
like the last, crosses readily with tame hens, and even visits solitary 
farms and ravishes them. Two hybrids, a male and female, thus 
produced, were found by Mr. Mitford to be quite sterile : both in- 
herited the peculiar voice of G. Stanleyii. This species, then, may 
in all probability be rejected as one of the primitive stocks of the 
domestic fowl. 

Java and the islands eastward as far as Flores are inhabited by 
G. varius (or furcatus), which differs in so many characters — green 
plumage, unserrated comb, and single median wattle — that no 
one supposes it to have been the parent of any one of our breeds ; 
yet, as I am informed by Mr. Crawfurd, " 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, how- 
ever, was not the case with some bred in the Zoological Gardens. , 
These hybrids were at one time thought to be specifically distinct, 
and were named G. ceneus. Mr. Blyth and others believe that the 
G. Temminckii 1S (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 ob- 
served, there were transverse blue bands like those which he had 

16 Mr. S. J. Salter, in 'Natural His- 17 See also Mr. Crawford's ' Descrip- 
tor Review,' April, 1863, p. 276. tive Diet, of the Indian Islands,' 1S56, 

. 18 See also Mr. Layard's paper in p. 113. 

' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' 18 Described by Mr. G-. R. Gray, 

2nd series, vol. xiv. p. 62. ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.', 1S49, p. 62. 


seen on the tail-feathers of hybrids from O. varius, reared in the 
Zoological Gardens. This fact apparently indicates that some of 
the fowls of Borneo have been slightly affected by crosses with O. 
vurius, but the case may possibly be one of analogous variation. I. 
may just allude to the O. giganteus, so often referred to in works on 
poultry as a wild species ; but Marsden, 19 the first describer, speaks 
of it as a tame breed ; and the specimen in the British Museum 
evidently has the aspect of a domestic variety. 

The last species to be mentioned, namely, Oallus bankiva, has a 
much wider geographical range than the three previous species ; it 
inhabits Northern India as far west as Sinde, and ascends the Hi- 
malaya to a height of 4000 ft. ; it inhabits Burmah, the Malay pe- 
ninsula, 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 speci- 
mens, 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 Indi- 
an, whereas they show some tendency to be yellowish in the Malayan 
and Javan specimens. In the former Mr. Blyth finds the tarsus re- 
markably variable in length. According to Temminck 2 ° the Timor 
specimens differ as a local race from that of Java. These several 
wild varieties have not as yet been ranked as distinct species ; if 
they should, as is not unlikely, be hereafter thus ranked, the cir- 
cumstance would be quite immaterial as far as the parentage and dif- 
ferences of our domestic breeds are concerned. The wild G. bankiva 
agrees most closely with the black-breasted red Game-breed, in co- 
louring and in all other respects, except in being smaller, and in the 
tail being carried more horizontally. But the manner in which the 
tail is carried is highly variable in many of our breeds, for, as Mr. 
Brent informs me, the tail slopes much in the Malays, is erect in 
the Games and some other breeds, and is more than erect in Dork- 
ings, Bantams, &c. There is one other difference, namely, that in 

19 The passage from Marsden is 20 ' Coup-d'oeil general sur l'lnde 

given by Mr. Dixon in his ' Poultry Archipelagique,' torn. iii. (1S49), p. 177 ; 

Book,' p. 176. No ornithologist now tee also Mr. Blyth in ' Indian Sporting 

ranks this bird as a distinct species. Review,' vol. ii. p. 5, 1S56. 

286 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

G. bankiva, according to Mr. Blyth, the neck-hackles when first 
moulted are replaced during two or three months, not by other 
hackles, as with our domestic poultry, but by short blackish feath- 
ers. 21 Mr. Brent, however, has remarked that these black feathers 
remain in the wild bird after the development of the lower hackles, 
and appear in the domestic bird at the same time with them ; so 
that the only difference is that the lower hackles are replaced more 
slowly in the wild than in the tame bird ; but as confinement is 
known sometimes to affect the masculine plumage, this slight dif- 
ference cannot be considered of any importance. It is a significant 
fact that the voice of both the male and female G. bankiva closely re- 
sembles, 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 unfortu- 
nately 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 fightrwith their do- 
mestic game-birds. 2 ' 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. Craw- 
f urd remarks that from etymology it might be argued that the fowl 
was first domesticated by the Malays and Javanese. 24 It is also a 
curious fact, of which I have been assured by Mr. Blyth, that wild 
specimens of the Gallus bankiva, brought from the countries east of 
the Bay of Bengal, are far more easily tamed than those of India ; 
nor is this an unparalleled fact, for, as Humboldt long ago remarked, 
the same species sometimes evinces a more tameable disposition in 
one country than in another. If we suppose that the G. bankiva 
was first tamed in Malaya and afterwards imported into India, we 

. S1 Mr. Blyth, in 'Annals and Mag. of Blyth, the wild and tame poultry con- 
Nat. Hist.,' 2nd ser., vol. i. (1S4S), p. 455. stantly cross together, and irregular 

22 Crawfurd. ' Desc. Diet, of Indian transitional forms may be seen. 

Islands,' 1S56, 112. " Idem, p. 113. 
23 In Burmah, as I hear from Mr. 



can understand an observation made to me by Mr. Blyth, that tbe 
domestic fowls of India do not resemble the Avild G. bankim more 
closely than do those of Europe. 

From the extremely close resemblance in colour, general 
structure, and especially in voice, between Gallus bcoiklva 
and the Game fowl; from their fertility, as far as this 
has been ascertained, when crossed; from the possibility 
of the wild species being tamed, and from its varying in 
the wild state, we may confidently look at it as the pa- 
rent of the most typical of all the domestic breeds, namely, 
the Game-fowl. It is a significant fact, that almost all 
the naturalists in India, namely, Sir W. Elliot, Mr. S. N. 
Ward, Mr. Layard, Mr. J. C. Jerdon, and Mr. Blyth, 26 
who are familiar with G. bankiva, believe that it is the 
parent of most or all our domestic breeds. But even if 
it be admitted that G. banJciva 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 coun- 
try, or have become extinct. The extinction, however, 
of several species of fowls, is an improbable hypothesis, 
seeing that the four known species have not become ex- 
tinct 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 remarked, 20 generally have a re- 
stricted range ; we see this well illustrated in India, where 
the genus Gallus inhabits the base of the Himalaya, and 

56 Mr. Jerdon, in the 'Madras Journ. Blyth, see his excellent article in • Gar- 

of Lit. and Science,' vol. xxii. p. 2, dener's Cbron.' 1351, p. 619; and in 

speaking of G. bankiva, says, "unques- 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. 

tionably the origin of most of the va- xx., 1S47, p. 3S8. 

rieties of our common fowls." For Mr. S8 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1851, p. 619. 

288 FOWLS. Ceap. VII. 


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 in- 
habit South America 27 as that a humming-bird should be 
found in the old world. From the character of the other 
gallinaceous birds of Africa, it is not probable that Gal- 
lus is an African genus. We need not look to the west- 
ern parts of Asia, for Messrs. Blyth and Crawfurd, who 
have attended to this subject, doubt whether Gallus ever 
existed in a wild state even as far west as Persia. Al- 
though the earliest Greek writers speak of the fowl as a 
Persian bird, this probably merely indicates its line of 
importation. For the discovery of unknown species we 
must look to India, to the Indo-Chinese countries, and to 
the northern parts of the Malay Archipelago. The south- 
ern 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 

27 I have consulted an eminent autho- wild, and had " a cry quite different to 

rity, Mr. Sclater, on this subject, and he that of the domestic fowl," and their ap- 

thinks that I have not expressed myself pearance was somewhat changed. Hence 

too strongly. I am aware that one an- it is not a little doubtful, notwithstand- 

cient author, Acosta, speaks of fowls as ing the statement of the natives, wheth- 

having inhabited S. America at the pe- er these birds really were fowls. That 

riod of its discovery ; and more recently, the fowl has become feral on several is- 

about 1795, Olivier de Serres speaks of lands is certain. Mr. Fry, a very capa- 

wikl fowls in the forests of Guiana ; ble judge, informed Mr. Layard, in a let- 

these were probably feral birds. Dr. ter, that the fowls which have run wild 

Daniell tells me, he believes that fowl3 on Ascension " had nearly all got back 

have become wild on the west coast of to their primitive colours, red and black 

Equatorial Africa; they may, however, cocks, and smoky-grey hens." But un- 

not be true fowls, but gallinaceous birds fortunately we do not know the Colour 

belonging to the genus Phasidus. The of the poultry which were turned out. 

old voyager Barbut says that poultry Fowls have become feral on the Nicobar 

are not natural to Guinea. Capt. W. Islands (Blyth in the ' Indian Field,' 

Allen (' Narrative of Niger Expedition,' 1S58, p. 62), and in the Ladrones (An- 

1848, vol. ii. p. 42) describes wild fowls son's Voyage). Those found in the Pel- 

on Ilha dos Rollas, an island near St. lew Islands (Crawfurd) are believed to 

Thomas's, on the west coast of Africa : be feral ; and lastly, it is asserted that 

the natives informed him that they had they have become feral in New Zealand, 

escaped from a vessel wrecked there but whether this is correct I know not. 
many years ago; they were extremely 


kept there in aviaries, so that any native species of Gal- 
lus would probably have become knowli. 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 introduced 
into the East (i.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 consider- 
ed by the Chinese as the source of the domestic fowl. 
From these several considerations we must look to the 
present metropolis of the genus, namely, to the south- 
eastern parts of Asia, for the discovery of species w r hich 
were formerly domesticated, but are now unknowm in the 
Avild state ; and the most experienced ornithologists do 
not consider it probable that such species will be dis- 

In considering whether the domestic breeds are de- 
scended from one species^ namely, G. bankiva, or from 
several, we must not quite overlook, though we must not 
exaggerate, the importance of the test of fertility. Most 
of our domestic breeds have been so often crossed, and 
their mongrels so largely kept, that it is almost certain, 
if any degree of infertility had existed between them, it 
would have been detected. On the other hand, the four 
known species of Gallus when crossed with each other, 
or when crossed, with the exception of G. banJciva, with 
the domestic fowl, produce infertile hybrids. 

Finally, we have not such good evidence with fowls as 
with pigeons, of all the breeds having descended from a 
single primitive stock. In both cases the argument of 
fertility must go for something ; in both w r e have the im- 
probability of man having succeeded in ancient times 
in thoroughly domesticating several supposed species, — 
most of these supposed species being extremely abnormal 
as compared w r ith their natural allies, — all being now 
either unknown or extinct, though the parent-form ot 

290 FOWLS. Chap. VII 

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 jx 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 occa^ 
sionally be met with, which are almost identical in plu- 
mage with the wild G. banJciva. This is a fact well de- 
serving attention, when we reflect that these breeds rank 
amongst the most distinct. Fowls thus coloured are 
called by amateurs black-breasted reds. Hamburghs 
properly have a very different plumage ; nevertheless, as 
Mr. Tegetmeier informs me, " the great difficulty in breed- 
ing cocks of the golden-spangled variety is their tenden- 
cy to have black breasts and red backs." The males 
of white Bantams and white Cochins, as they come to 
maturity, often assume a yellowish or saffron tinge ; and 
the longer neck hackles of black bantam cocks, 28 when 
two or three years old, not uncommonly become ruddy ; 
these latter bantams occasionally " even moult brassy 
winged, or actually red shouldered." So that in these 
several cases we see a plain tendency to reversion to the 
hues of G. barikiva, even dui-ing the lifetime of the indi- 
vidual bird. With Spanish, Polish, pencilled Hamburgh, 
silver-spangled Hamburgh fowls, and with some other 

as Mr. Hewitt, in ' The Poultry Book,' by W. B. Tegetmeier, 1SC6, p. 243. 


less common breeds, I have never heard of a black-breast- 
ed red bird having appeared. 

From my experience with pigeons, I made the follow- 
ing crosses. I first killed all my own poultry, no others 
living near my house, and then procured, by Mr. Teget- 
meier'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 plu- 
mage is strongly inherited, and that the belief in the pre- 
potent power in the male to transmit his colour, is not 
always correct. The chickens were hatched in the spring, 
and in the latter part of August several of the young 
cocks began to exhibit a change, which with some of 
them increased during the following years. Thus a young 
male bird from the silver-spangled Polish hen was in its 
first plumage coal-black, and combined in its comb, crest, 
wattle, and beard, the characters of both parents ; but 
when two years old the secondary wing-feathers, became 
largely and symmetrically marked with white, and 
wherever in G. bankiva the hackles are red, they were 
in this bird greenish-black along the shaft, narrowly 
bordered with brownish-black, and this again broadly 
bordered with very pale yellowish-brown ; so that in 
general appearance the plumage had become pale-colour- 
ed instead of black. In this case, with advancing age 

292 fowls. 

Chap. VtT. 

there was a great change, hut no reversion to the red 

colour of G. bankiva. 

A cock with a regular rose comb derived either from 
the spangled or pencilled silver Hamburgh was likewise 
at first quite black; but in less than a year the neck- 
hackles, as in the last case, became whitish, whilst those 
on the loins assumed a decided reddish-yellow tint ; and 
here we see the first symptom of reversion ; this likewise 
occurred with some other young cocks, which need not 
here be described. It has also been recorded i9 by a 
breeder, that he crossed two silver-pencilled Hamburgh 
hens with a Spanish cock, and reared a number of chick- 
ens, all of which were black, the cocks having (/olden and 
the hens brownish hackles ; so that in this instance like- 
wise 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 G. banfciva. 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. Te- 
getmeier, by crossing a black-breasted red Game cock with 
a white Game hen, and the u pile" sub-breed thus pro- 
duced can afterwards be truly propagated. So that we 
have the curious fact of the glossy-black Spanish cock 
and the black-breasted red Game cock when crossed with 
white Game-hens producing offspring of nearly the same 

. 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- 

*» ' Journal of Horticulture,' Jan. 14th, 1862, p. 825. 


inheritance of this chavacter has been observed by others. 
The hens never varied in their plumage. As the young 
cocks grew old, one of them assumed yellowish-white 
hackles, and thus resembled in a considerable degree the 
cross from the Hamburgh hen ; the other became a gor- 
geous bird, so much so that an acquaintance had it pre- 
served and stuffed simply from its beauty. When stalk- 
ing about it closely resembled the wild Gallus bankiva, 
but with the red feathers rather darker. On close com- 
parison one considerable difference presented itself, 
namely, that the primary and secondary wing-feathers 
were edged with greenish-black, instead of being edged, 
as in G. bankiva, with fulvous and red tints. The space, 
also, across the back, which bears dark-green feathers, 
was broader, and the comb was blackish. In all other 
respects, even in trifling details of plumage, there was 
the closest accordance. Altogether it was a marvellous 
sight to compare this bird first with G. bankiva, and 
then with its father, the glossy green-black Spanish cock, 
and with its diminutive mother, the white Silk hen. This 
case of reversion is the more extraordinary as the Span- 
ish breed has long been known to breed true, and no in- 
stance 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 G. bankiva. 

Mr. Tegetmeier has been so kind as to repeat, at my 
request, the cross between a Spanish cock and Silk hen, 
and he obtained similar results ; for he thus raised, be- 
sides 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. 

294 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

The hens from the six above-described crosses showed 
hardly any tendency to revert to the mottled-brown 
plumage of the female G. banklva '■: one hen, however, 
from the white Cochin, which was at first coal-black, be- 
came slightly brown or sooty. Several hens, which were 
for a long time snow-white, acquired as they grew old a 
few black feathers. A hen from the white Game, which 
was for a long time entirely black glossed with green, 
when two years old had some of the primary wing-feathers 
greyish-white, and a multitude of feathers over her body 
narrowly and symmetrically tipped or laced with white. 
I had expected that some of the chickens whilst covered 
with down would have assumed the longitudinal stripes 
so general with gallinaceous birds ; but this did not occur 
in a single instance. Two or three alone were reddish- 
brown about their heads. I was unfortunate in losing 
nearly all the white chickens from the first crosses ; so 
that black prevailed with the grandchildren ; but they 
were much diversified in colour, some being sooty, others 
mottled, and one blackish chicken had its feathers oddly 
tipped and barred with brown. 

I will here add a few miscellaneous facts connected 
with reversion, and with the law of analogous variation. 
This law implies, as stated in a previous chapter, that 
the varieties of one species frequently mock distinct but 
allied species ; and this fact is explained, according to 
the views which I maintain, on the principle of allied 
species having descended from one primitive form. The 
white Silk fowl with black skin and bones degenerates, 
as has been observed by Mr. Hewitt and Mr. R. Orton, 
in our climate ; that is, it reverts to the ordinary colour 
of the common fowl in its skin and bones, due care 
having been taken to prevent any cross. In Germany 3 * 

80 ' Die Huhner und Pfauenzucht.' meicr, 1866, p. 222. I am indebted to 

Ulm, 1S27, s. 17. For Mr. Hewitt's state- Mr. Orton for a letter on the same sub- 

ment with respect to the white Silk fowl, ject. 
see the 'Poultry Book,' by W. B. Tesret- 


B distinct breed with black bones, and with black, not 
silky plumage, has likewise been observed to degen- 

Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that, when distinct breeds 
are crossed, fowls are frequently produced with their 
feathers marked or pencilled by narrow transverse lines 
of a darker colour. This may be in part explained by 
direct reversion to the parent-form, the Bankiva hen ; 
for this bird has all its upper plumage finely mottled 
with dark and rufous brown, with the mottling partially 
and obscurely arranged in transverse lines. But the 
tendency to pencilling is probably much strengthened 
by the law of analogous variation, for the hens of some 
other species of Gallns are much more plainly pencilled, 
and the hens of many gallinaceous birds belonging to 
other genera, as the partridge, have pencilled feathers. 
Mr. Tegetmeier has also remarked to me, that, although 
with domestic pigeons we have so great a diversity of 
colouring, we never see either pencilled or spangled 
feathers; and this fact is intelligible on the law of ana- 
logous variation, as neither the wild rock-pigeon nor any 
closely-allied species* has such feathers. The frequent 
appearance of pencilling in crossed birds probably ac- 
counts 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 character- 
istic 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 

296 FOWLS. Chap. VH. 

of spangled sub-breeds of Hamburgh, Polish, Malay, and 
Bantam fowls. Spangled feathers have a dark mark, 
properly crescent-shaped, on their tips; whilst pencilled 
feathers have several transverse bars. The spangling 
cannot be due to reversion to G. bankiva ; nor does it 
often follow, as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, from cross- 
ing distinct breeds; but it is a case of analogous varia- 
tion, 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 in- 
explicable ; 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 especial- 
ly applies to the Game breed, which of all comes nearest 
to the G. bankiva; and we have seen that with this 
species living in a state of nature, the ear-lappets vary 
in colour, being red in the Malayan, countries, and gen- 
erally, but not invariably, white in India. 

In concluding this part of my subject I may repeat 
that there exists one widely-ranging, varying, and com- 
mon species of Gallus, namely G. bankiva, which can be 
tamed, produces fertile offspring when crossed with com- 
mon 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 do- 
mesticated breed. We have seen that there is much diffi- 
culty in believing that other, now unknown, species have 
been the parents of the other domestic breeds. We know 

31 Dixon, ' Ornamental and Domestic p. 260. 
Poultry,' pp. 253, 324, 335. For game 3 » ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. ii. p. TL 

fowls, see Ferguson on ' Prize Poultry,' 


that all the breeds are most closely allied, as shown by 
their similarity in most points of structure and in habits, 
and by the analogous manner in which they vary. We 
have also seen that several of the most distinct breeds 
occasionally or habitually closely resemble in plumage G. 
ba>ikiva, and that the crossed offspring of other breeds, 
which are not thus coloured, show a stronger or weaker 
tendency to revert to this same plumage. Some of the 
breeds, which appear the most distinct and the least likely 
to have proceeded from G. bankiva, such as Polish fowls, 
with their protuberant and little ossified skulls, and Co- 
chins, 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 impi-oved and fixed many characters ; and we have 
every reason to believe that unconscious selection, carried 
on for many generations, will have steadily augmented 
each new peculiarity and thus have given rise to new 
breeds. As soon as two or three breeds had once been 
formed, crossing would come into play in changing their 
character and in increasing their number. Brahma Poo- 
tras, according to an account lately published in America, 
offer a good instance of a breed, lately formed by a cross, 
which can be truly propagated. The well-known Sebright 
Bantams offer another and similar instance. Hence it 
maybe concluded that not only the Game-breed but that 
all our breeds are probably the descendants of the Ma- 
layan or Indian variety of G. bankiva. If so, this species 
has varied greatly since it was first domesticated; but 
there has been ample time, as we shall now show. 

History of the Foicl. — Riitimeyer found no remains of 
the fowl in the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings. It is not 
mentioned in the Old Testament ; nor is it figured on the 
ancient Egyptian monuments. 33 It is not referred to by 

»' Dr. Pickering, In his ' Races of Man,' cession to Thoutmousis III. (1445 B.C.) ; 

1850, p. 874, says that the head and neck but Mr. Birch of the British Museum 

of a fowl is carried In a Tribute-pro- doubts whether the figure can be iden- 


298 FOWLS. Ceap. VII. 

Homer or Hesiod (about 900 b.c.) ; but is mentioned by 
Theognis and Aristophanes between 400 and 500 b.c. It 
is figured on some of the Babylonian cylinders, of which 
Mr. Layard sent me an impression, 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 
Cresar. 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 au- 
thority 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 En- 
cyclopaedia, the fowl must have been domesticated several 
centuries earlier, as it is said to have been introduced 
from the West into China 1400 b.c 

Sufficient materials do not exist for tracing the history 
of the separate breeds. About the commencement of 
the Christian era, Columella mentions a five-toed fighting 
breed, and some provincial breeds ; but we know nothing 
more about them. He also alludes to dwarf fowls ; but 
these cannot have been the same with our Bantams, 
which, as Mr. Crawfurd has shown, were imported from 
Japan into Bantam in Java. A dwarf fowl, probably the 

tified as the head of a fowl. Some cau- ' Beitrage zur Culturgescbichte,' 1S52, s. 

tion is necessary with reference to the 77 ; and Isid. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, ' Hist, 

absence of figures of the fowl on the Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 61. Mr. Crawfurd 

ancient Egyptian monuments, on account has given an admirable history of the 

of the strong and widely prevalent pre- fowl in his paper ' On the Relation of 

judice against this bird. I am informed Domesticated Animals -to Civilization,' 

by the Rev. S. Erhardt that on the east read before the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford in 

coast of Africa, from 4° to 6° south of the 1860, and since printed separately. I 

equator, most of the pagan tribes at the quote from him on the Greek poet The- 

present day hold the fowl in aversion. ognis, and on the Harpy Tomb described 

The natives of the Pellew Islands would by Sir. C. Fellowes. I quote from a letter 

not eat the fowl, nor will the Indians in of Mr. Blyth's with respect to the Insti- 

Bome parts of S. America. For the an- tutes of Manu. 
cient history of the fowl, see also Volz, 


true Bantam, is referred to in an old Japanese Encyclo- 
paedia, as I am informed by Mr. Birch. In the Chinese En- 
cyclopaedia, published in 1596, but compiled from various 
sources, some of high antiquity, seven breeds are mention- 
ed, including what Ave 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 Gall us 
Turcicus certainly seems to be a pencilled Hamburgh ; 
but Mr. Brent, a most capable judge, thinks that Aldro- 
vandi " 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 characteristic specimens. The Silk fowl, 
however, probably then existed in its present state, as did 
almost certainly the fowl with frizzled or reversed feath- 
ers. 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. Boi*elli in 1656. I may add that in 1737 
one Polish sub-breed, viz. the golden spangled, was 
known ; but judging from Albin's description, the comb 
was then larger, the crest of feathers much smaller, the 
breast more coarsely spotted, and the stomach and thighs 
much blacker: a golden-spangled Polish fowl in this 
condition would now be of no value. 

Differences in External and Internal Structure between 
the Breeds : Individual Variability. — Fowls have been 
exposed to diversified conditions of life, and as we have 

34 'Ornamental and Domestic Poul- Golden' Hamburghs, see Albin's ' Natu- 
try,' 184T, p. 185; for passages trans- ral History of Birds,' 3 vols., with plates, 
lated from Columella, see p. 312. For 1731-38. 

300 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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 Galhfe bankiva, it will be worth 
while to describe in some detail the chief points of dif- 
ference. Beginning with the eggs and chickens, I Avill 
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 va- 
riable almost every character has become under domesti- 

Eggs. — Mr. Dixon remarks 35 that " to every hen belongs an indi- 
vidual 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 handwriting of their nearest acquaintance." I 
believe that this is generally true, and that, if no great number of 
hens be kept, the eggs of each can almost always be recognised. 
The eggs of differently sized breeds naturally differ much in size-; 
but, apparently, not always in strict relation to the size of the hen : 
thus the Malay is a larger bird than the Spanish, but 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 " 
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- 

35 Ornamental and Domestic Poul- ever, figures and much information on 

try, p. 152. eggs. See pp. 34 and 235 on the eggs of 

56 Ferguson on Rare Prize Poultry,' the Game fowl. 

p. 29T. This writer, I am informed, can- 37 See ' Poultry Book,' by Mr. Teget- 

oot generally be trusted. He gives, how- meier, 1866, pp. SI and T8. 


breed of Spanish, are said to lay harder eggs than true Spanish. 3 * 
The colour differs considerably, — the Cochins laying buff-coloured 
eggs ; the Malays a paler variable buff; and Games a still paler 
buff. It would appear that darker-coloured eggs characterise the 
breeds which have lately come from the East, or are still closely 
allied to those now living there. The*colour of the yolk, according 
to Ferguson, as well as of the shell, differs slightly in the sub- 
breeds of the Game, 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 
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 longitudinally striped on the back, — of which character, when 
adult, neither sex retains a trace, — it might have been expected 
that the chickens of all our domestic fowls would have been simi- 
larly striped. 39 This could, however, hardly have been expected, 
when the adult plumage in both sexes has undergone so great a 
change as to be wholly white or black. In white fowls of various 
breeds the chickens are uniformly yellowish white, passing in the 
black-boned Silk fowl into bright canary-yellow. This is also 
generally the case with the chickens of white Cochins, but I hear 
from Mr. Zurhost that they are sometimes of a buff or oak colour, 
and that all those of this latter colour, which were watched, turned 
out males. The chickens of buff Cochins are of a golden-yellow, 
easily distinguishable from the paler tint of the white Cochins, and 
arc often longitudinally streaked with dark shades : the chickens of 
silver-cinnamon Cochins are almost always gf 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 Ban- 
tams, display a new character, for their chickens have their breasts 
and throats more or less white, with sometimes a little white else- 

's ' The Cottage Gardener,' Oct. 1 S55, namental and Domestic Poultry.' Mr. 

p. 13. On the thinness of the eggs of B. P. Brent has also communicated to 

Game-fowls, see Mowbray on Poultry, me many facts by letter, as has Mr. 

7th edit., p. 13. Tegetmeier. I will in each case mark my 

39 My information, which is very far authority by the name within brackets, 

from perfect, on chickens in the down, For the chickens of white Silk-fowls, see 

is derived chiefly from Mr. Dixon's ' Or- Tegetmeier's ' Poultry Book,' 1SG6, p. 221. 

302 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

where. Spanish chickens also, occasionally (Brent), have, where 
the down was white, their first true feathers tipped for a time with 
white. The primordially striped character is retained by the 
chickens of most of the Game sub-breeds (Brent, Dixon) ; by Dork- 
ings ; by the partridge and grouse-coloured sub-breeds of Cochins 
(Brent), but not, as we have^een, 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 dark spots 
on the head and rump, with occasionally a longitudinal stripe 
(Dixon) on the back of the neck. I have seen only one chicken of 
the silver-spangled Hamburgh, and this was obscurely striped along 
the back. Gold-spangled Polish chickens (Tegetmeier) are of a 
warm russet brown ; and silver-spangled Polish chickens are grey, 
sometimes (Dixon) with dashes of ochre on the head, wings, and 
breast. Cuckoo and blue-dun fowls (Dixon) are grey in the down. 
The chickens of Sebright Bantams (Dixon) are iiniformly 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 O. bankiva, the more 
completely the chickens have lost their proper stripes. 

With respect to the period of life at which the charac- 
ters 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 protu- 
berance of the anterior part of the skull is well developed 
before the chickens come out of the egg ; 40 but the crest, 
which is supported on the protuberance, is at first feebly 
developed, nor does it attain its full size until the second 
year. The Spanish cock is pre-eminent for his magnifi- 
cent comb, and this is developed at an unusually early 

40 As I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier ; see On the late development of the crest, see 
also 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1S56, p. 366. 'Poultry Chronic!^' vol. ii. p. 182. 


age ; so that the young males can be distinguished from 
the females Avhen 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 car-lappets are 
developed earlier than in the common Spanish breed/ 1 
Cochins are characterised by a small tail, and in the 
young cocks the tail is developed at an unusually late 
period." 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 author, 44 
" whole broods, scarcely feathered, stone-blind from fight- 
ing ; 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 Gallus banJciva ; but as man during 
many generations has gone on selecting the most obsti- 
nately pugnacious cocks, it is more probable that their 
pugnacity has been unnaturally increased, and unnatu- 
rally transferred to the young male chickens. In the 
same manner, it is probable that the extraordinary de- 
velopment 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 

41 On these points, see ' Poultry Chro- 43 Ferguson on Rare and Prize Poultry, 

nlcle,' vol. iii. p. 166; and Tegetmeier's p. 261. 

* Poultry Book,' 1866, pp. 105 and 121. << Mowbray on Poultry, 7th edit. 1834, 

•* Dixon, ' Ornamental and Domestic p. 13. 
Poultry,' p. 2T3, 

304 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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 Gallics bankiva, differ much in colour. 
In our domestic breeds the difference is never greater, but 
is often less, and varies much in degree even in the sub- 
breeds of the same main breed. Thus in certain Game 
fowls the difference is as great as in the parent-form, 
whilst in the black and white sub-bi*eeds there is no dif- 
ference 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 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, ex- 
cepting of course in the hackles, crest, and beard. In 
spangled Hamburghs, there is likewise a considerable de- 
gree of similarity between the two sexes. In pencilled 
Hamburghs, on the other hand, there is much dissimilar- 
ity; the pencilling which is characteristic of the hens be- 

45 See the full description of the varie- * Poultry Book,' 1866, p. 131. For Cuc- 
ties of the Game-breed, in Tegetmeier's koo Dorkings, p. 9T. 


ing almost absent in the males of both the golden and 
silver varieties. But, as we have already seen, it cannot 
be given as a general rule that male fowls never have 
pencilled feathers, for Cuckoo Dorkings are " remarkable 
from having nearly similar markings in both sexes." 

It is a singular fact that the males in certain sub-breeds 
have lost some of their secondary masculine characters, 
and, from their close resemblance in plumage to the fe- 
males, are often called hennies. There is much diversity 
of opinion whether these males are in any degree sterile ; 
that they sometimes are partially sterile seems clear, 48 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 Ham- 
burghs was recently much esteemed. There is also a 
breed of Game-fowls, in which the males and females re- 
semble each other so closely that the cocks have often 
mistaken their hen-feathered opponents in the cock-pit 
for real hens, and by the mistake have lost their lives. 47 
The cocks, though dressed in the feathers of the hen, 
" are high-spirited birds, and their courage has been often 
proved :" an engraving even has been published of one 
celebrated hen-tailed victor. Mr. Tegetmeier 48 has re- 
corded the remarkable case of a brown-breasted red 
Game-cock which, after assuming its perfect masculine 

48 Mr. Hewitt in Tegetmeier's ' Poultry cocks thus sacrificed. 

Bonk,' 1S6 : , pp. 240 and 156. For hen- « 8 ' Proceedings of Zoolog. Soc' March, 

tailed game-cocks, see p. 131. 1S61, p. 102. The engraving of the hen- 

47 l The Field,' April 20th, 1861. The tailed cock just alluded to was exhibited 

writer says lie has seen half-a-dozen at the Society. 

306 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

plumage, became hen-feathered in the autumn of the fol- 
lowing year ; but he did not lose voice, spurs, strength, 
nor productiveness. This bird has now retained the same 
character during live seasons, and has begot both hen- 
feathered and male-feathered offspring. Mr. Grantley F. 
Berkeley relates the still more singular case of a cele- 
brated strain of " polecat Game-fowls," which produced 
in nearly every brood a single hen-cock. " The great 
peculiarity in one of these birds was that he, as the sea- 
sons 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 sec- 
ondary sexual characters are apt to differ much in the 
species of the same genus, and to be unusually variable 
in the individuals of the species. So it is with the breeds 
of the fowl, as we have already seen, as fir 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, 60 and its form is eminently 
characteristic of each kind, with the exception of the 
Dorkings, in which the form has not been as yet deter- 
mined on by fanciers, and fixed by selection. A single, 
deeply-serrated comb is the typical and most common 
form. It differs much in size, being immensely develop- 
ed in Spanish fowls ; and in a local breed called Red- 
caps, it is sometimes " upwards of three inches in breadth 
at the front, and more than four inches in length, meas- 
ured to the end of the peak behind." 51 In some breeds 
the comb is double, and when the two ends are cemented 

49 ' The Field,' April 20th, 1S61. and likewise with respect to the tail, as 

60 I am much indebted to Mr. Brent presently to be given. 

for an account, with sketches, of all the 61 The ' Poultry Book,' by Tegetmeier, 

variations of the comb known to him, 1866, p. 231. 


together it forms a " cup-comb ;" in the " rose-comb " it 
is depressed, covered with small projections, and pro- 
duced backwards ; in the horned and creve-cauir 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 mauy breeds 
a crest of feathers replaces the comb. The crest, when 
little developed, arises from a fleshy mass, but, when 
much developed, from a hemispherical protuberance of 
the skull. In the best Polish fowls it is so largely de- 
veloped, that I have seen birds which could hardly pick 
up their food ; and a German writer asserts M that they 
are in consequence liable to be struck by hawks. Mon- 
strous 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 ai'e short and stiff" in Malays, and absent in Hennies. 
As in some orders of birds the males display extraordi- 
narily-shaped feathers, such as naked shafts with discs at 
the end, &c, the following case may be worth giving. 
In the wild Gall us bankiva and in our domestic fowls, 
the barbs which arise from each side of the extremities 
of the hackles are naked or not clothed with barbules, so 
that they resemble bristles ; but Mr. Brent sent me some 
scapular hackles from a young Birchen Duckwing Game 
cock, in which the naked bai-bs 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 

»» ' Die Huhner und Pfauenzucht,' 1827, s. 11. 

308 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

barbs. Hence the coloured tips appeared like little sepa- 
rate 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 someHamburghs, instead of being long and flow- 
ing as in the typical breeds. They are extremely short in 
Cochins, and are not at all developed in Hennies. They 
are carried, together with the whole tail, erect in Dork- 
ings and Games ; but droop much in Malays and in some 
Cochins. Sultans are characterized by an additional num- 
ber of lateral sickle-feathers. The spurs vary much, being 
placed higher or lower on the shank ; being extremely 
long and sharp in Games, and blunt and short in Cochins. 
These latter birds seem aware that their spurs are not 
efficient weapons ; for though they occasionally use them, 
they more frequently fight, as I am informed by Mr. 
Tegetmeier, by seizing and shaking each other with their 
beaks. In some Indian Game-cocks, received by Mr. 
Brent from Germany, there are, as he informs me, three, 
four, or even five spurs on each leg. Some Dorkings also 
have two spurs on each leg; 63 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 Ency- 
clopaedia. " Their occurrence may be considered as a case 
of analogous variation, for some wild gallinaceous birds, 
for instance, the Potyplectron, have double spurs. 

Judging from the differences which generally distin- 
guish the sexes in the Gallinacere, 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 plu- 
mage between the male and female, the male is always 

68 ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i. p. 595. the spurs in Dorkings, see ' Cottage 
Mr. Brent has informed me of the same Gardener,' Sept. 18th, 1860, p. 3S0. 
fact. With respect to the position of 


the most beautiful ; but in golden-spangled Hamburghs 

the hen is equally beautiful with the cock, and incompa- 
rably more beautiful than the hen iu any natural species 
of Gallus; so that here a masculine character has been 
transferred to the female. On the other hand, in cuckoo 
Dorkings and in other cuckoo breeds the pencilling, which 
in Gallus is a female attribute, has been transferred to 
the male : nor, on the principle of analogous variation, is 
this transference surprising, as the males in many galli- 
naceous genera are barred or pencilled. With most of 
these birds head ornaments of all kinds are more fully 
developed in the male than in the female ; but in Polish 
fowls the crest or top-knot, which in the male replaces 
the comb, is equally developed in both sexes. In certain 
sub-breeds, which from the hen having a small crest, are 
called lark-crested, " a single upright comb sometimes al- 
most entirely takes the place of the crest in the male." 64 
From this latter ease, and from some facts presently to 
be given with respect to the protuberance of the skidl in 
Polish fowls, the crest in this breed ought perhaps to be 
viewed as a feminine character which has been transferred 
to the male. In the Spanish breed the male, as we know, 
has an immense comb, and this has been partially transfer- 
red to the female, for her comb is unusually large, though 
not upright. In Game-fowls the bold and savage disposi- 
tion of the male has likewise been largely transferred to the 
female ; " 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, ac- 
cording to Bechstein, 66 the spurs in the Silk-hen are some- 
times very long. He mentions also another breed simi- 
larly characterized, in which the hens are excellent layers, 

61 Dixon, 'Ornamental and Domestic tice to exhibit each hen iu a separate 

Poultry,' p. 320. pen. 

65 Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that S6 'Naturgeschichte Deutscliland9,* 

Game hens have been found so com- Band iii. (1793), s. 339, 407. 
hative, that it is now generally the prac- 

310 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

but are apt to disturb and break their eggs owing to their 

JMr. Layard " 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 de- 
scribed than by comparing them to a white fowl draAvn 
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 confined to the female sex. 

At the^ present day all the breeds of Polish fowls have 
the great bony protuberance on their skulls, which in- 
cludes part of the brain and supports the crest, equally 
developed in both sexes. But formerly in Germany the 
skull of the hen alone was protuberant : Blumenbach, 68 
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 

67 On the Ornithology of Ceylon in puted the accuracy of Blumenbach's 
' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' 2nd statement. For Bechstein, s«e'Natur- 
series, vol. xiv. (1854), p. 63. geschichte Deutschlands,' Band iii. 

68 I quote Blumenbach on the autho- (1T93), s. 399, note. I may add that at 
rity of Mr. Tegetmeier, who gives in the first exhibition of poultry at the 
' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' Nov. 25th, 1S56, a Zoological Gardens, in May, 1S45, I saw 
very interesting account of the skulls some fowls, called Fiiezland fowls, of 
of Polish fowls. Mr. Tegetmeier, not which the hens were crested, and the 
knowing of Bechstein's account, dis- cocks were furnished with a comb. 


on a bony protuberance of variable size. He well de- 
scribes tbe peculiarities of this protuberance, and be at- 
tended to tbe effects of tbe modified sbape of tbe brain on 
tbe intellect of tbese 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 con- 
fined 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 
r 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 j r ears 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 witkin the same breed ; we know that the wild 
G. baiikica varies slightly in colour ; we know that colour is varia- 
ble in all our domestic animals ; nevertheless some eminent fanciers 
have so little faith in variability, that they have actually argued 
that the chief Game sub-breeds, which differ from each other in 
nothing but colour, are descended from distinct wild species ! Cross- 
ing often causes strange modifications of colour. Mr. Tegetmeier 
informs me that when buff and white Cochins are crossed, some of 
the chickens are almost invariably black. According to Mr. Brent, 
black and white Cochins occasionally produce chickens of a slaty- 
blue tint ; and this same tint appears, as Mr. Tegetmeier tells me, 
from crossing white Cochins with black Spanish fowls, or white 
Dorkings with black Minorcas. 60 A good observer 60 states that a 
first-rate silver-spangled Hamburgh hen gradually lost the m«st 
characteristic qualities of the breed, for the black lacing to her feath- 
ers disappeared, and her legs changed from ieadenblue 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 

68 ' Cottage Gardener,' Jan. 3rd, 1860, fore the Dublin Nat. Hist. Soc, quoted in 
p. 218. ' Cottage Gardener,' 1S06, p. 161. 

80 Mr. Williams, in a paper read be- 

312 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

marked manner; and chickens produced from this 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 mock- 
ing, 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 dif- 
fer much. The beak varies slightly in length and curvature, but in- 
comparably less than with pigeons. In most crested fowls the nos- 
trils 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. omikiva, 
these feathers were in both birds of the same length. I have count 
ed, 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 pri 
mary feather, barely three-quarters of an inch in length. These 
feathers differ considerably in relative length, the fourth, or the fifth.. 
or the sixth, being the longest ; with the third either equal to, or 
considerably shorter than the fifth. In wild gallinaceous species thfa 
relative length and number of the main wing and tail-feathers are 
extremely constant. 

The tail differs much in erectness and size, being small in Malays 
and very small in Cochins. In thirteen fowls of various breeds 
which I have examined, five had the normal number of 14 feath- 
ers, including in this number the two middle sickle-feathers ; six 
others (viz. a Caffre cock, Gold-spangled Polish cock, Cochin hen, 
Sultan hen, Game hen, and Malay hen) had 16 ; and two (an old 
Cochin cock and Malay hen) had 17 feathers. The rumpless fowl 
has no tail, and in a bird which I kept alive the oil-gland had abort- 
ed ; but this bird, though the os coccygis was extremely imperfect, 
had a vestige of a taU with two rather long feathers in the position 
of the outer caudals. This bird came from a family where, as I was 

61 ' De l'Espece,' 1859, 442. For the Azara, ' Quadrupedes du Paraguay,' torn, 

occurrence of black boned fowls in South ii. p. 324. A frizzled fowl sent to ine 

America, see Roulin, in ' Mem. de from Madras had black bones. 
I'Acad. des Sciences.' torn. vi. p. 351 ; and 


told, the breed had kept true for twenty years ; but rumpless fowls 
often produce chickens with tails. 62 An eminent physiologist 63 has 
recently spoken of this breed as a distinct species ; had he examined 
the deformed state of the os coccyx he would never have come to 
this conclusion ; he was probably misled by the statement, which 
may be found in some works, that tailless fowls are wild in Ceylon ; 
but this statement, as I have been assured by Mr. Layard and Dr. 
Kellaert, who have so closely studied the birds of Ceylon, is utterly 

The tarsi vary considerably in length, being relatively to the 
femur considerably longer in the Spanish and Frizzled, and shorter 
in the Silk and Bantam breeds, than in the wild G. bankim; 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 ° 4 to have 
the skin between their toes much developed ; Mr. Tegetmeier 
observed this in one bird, but it was not so in one which I exam- 
ined. In Cochins the middle toe is said 65 to be nearly double the 
length of the lateral toes, and therefore much longer than in G. 
1'Hikim or in other fowls ; but this was not the case in two which I 
examined. The nail of the middle toe in this same breed is sur- 
prisingly broad and flat, but in a variable degree in two birds 
which I examined ; of this structure in the nail there is only a 
trace in G. bankim. 

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. Col- 
onel Sykes remarks that the domestic Kulni 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 "pro- 
longed howling screech" of the cocks in Sikhim. 67 The crow of the 
Cochin is notoriously and ludicrously different from that of the 
common cock. The disposition of the different breeds is widely 
different, varying from the savage and defiant temper of the Game- 
cock to the extremely peaceable temper of the Cochin. The latter, 
it has been asserted, "graze to a much greater extent than any 

• 3 Mr. newitt, in Tegetmeier's 'Poul- Tegetmeier's 'Poultry Book,' 1S6G, p. 

try Book,' 1S66, p. 231. 41. On Cochins grazing, idem, p. 46. 

e3 Dr. Broca, in Brown-Sequard's 66 Ferguson on ' Prize Poultry,' p. 187. 

'Journal de Phy9.,' torn. ii. p. 361. « 7 Col. Sykes in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 

84 Dixon's 'Ornamental Poultry,' p. 1832, p. 151. Dr. Hooker's 'Himalayan 

323. Journals,' vol. i. p. 314. 

« s 'Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i. p. 4S5. 

314 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

other varieties." The Spanish fowls suffer more from frost than 
other breeds. 

Before we pass on to the skeleton, the degree of dis- 
tinctness of the several breeds from G. bankiva ought to 
be noticed. Some writers speak of the Spanish as one 
of the most distinct breeds, and so it is in general aspect ; 
but its characteristic differences are not important. The 
Malay appears to me more distinct, from its tall stature, 
small drooping tail with more than fourteen tail-feathers, 
and from its small comb and wattles ; nevertheless one 
Malay sub-breed is coloured almost exactly like G. ban- 
kiva. 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 furrowed frontal bones, 
peculiarly shaped occipital foramen, short wing-feathers, 
short tail containing more than fourteen feathers, broad 
nail to the middle toe, fluffy plumage, rough and dark- 
coloured eggs, and especially from its peculiar voice, is 
probably the most distinct of all the breeds. If any one 
of our bre%ds has descended from some unknoAvn species, 
distinct from G. bankiva, it is probably the Cochin ; 
but the balance of evidence does not favour this view. 
All the characteristic differences of the Cochin breed are 
more or less variable, and may be detected in a greater 
or lesser degree in other breeds. One sub-breed is col- 
oured closely like G. bankiva. The feathered legs, often 
furnished with an additional toe, the wings incapable of 
flight, the extremely quiet disposition, indicate a long 
course of domestication ; and these fowls come from 
China, where we know that plants and animals have 
been tended from a remote period with extraordinary 
care, and where consequently we might expect to find 
profoundly modified domestic races. 

Osteological Differences. — I have examined twenty- 
seven skeletons and fifty-three skulls of various breeds, 
including three of G, bankiva: nearly half of these 


skulls I owe to the kindness of Mr. Tegetmeier, and three 
of the skeletons to Mr. Eyton. 

The Skull differs greatly in size in different breeds, being nearly 
twice as long in the largest Cochins, but not nearly twice as broad, 
as in Bantams. The bones at the base, from the occipital foramen 
to the anterior end (including the quadrates and pterygoids), are 
absolutely identical in shape in all the skulls. So is the lower jaw. 
In the forehead slight differences are often perceptible between the 
males and females, evidently caused by the presence of the comb. 
In every case I take the skull of G. bankim as the standard of com- 
parison. In four Games, in one Malay hen, in an African cock, 
in a Frizzled cock from Madras, in two black-boned Silk hens, 
no differences 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. ban- 
Lira. In a Bantam or Jumper from Burmah these same characters 
are more strongly pronounced, and the supra-occiput is more point- 
ed. In a black Bantam the skidl is not so globular, and the occipital 
foramen is very large, and has nearly the same sub-triangular out- 
line presently to be described in Cochins ; and in this skull the two 
ascending branches of the premaxillary are overlapped in a singu- 
lar manner by the processes of the nasal bone, but, as I have seen 
only one specimen, some of these differences may be individual. 
Of Cochins and Brahmas (the latter a crossed race approaching 
closely to Cochins) I have examined seven skulls ; at the point 
where the ascending branches of the premaxillary rest on the 
frontal bone the surface is much depressed, and from this depression 
a deep medial furrow extends backwards to a variable distance ; 
the edges of this fissure are rather prominent, as is the top of the 
skull behind and over the orbits. These characters are less de- 
veloped in the hens. The pterygoids, and the processes of the 
lower jaw, relatively to the size of the head, are broader than in 
G. bankica; 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. bankma, whereas the length of the other 
hyoid bones is only as three to two. But the most remarkable 
character is the shape of the occipital foramen : in G. bankiva (A) 
the breadth in a horizontal line exceeds the height in a vertical 
line, and the outline is nearly circular ; whereas in Cochins (B) the 
outline is sub-triangular, and the vertical line exceeds the hori- 



Chap. VII. 

zontal 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. 


Fig. 33. — Occipital Foramen, of natural size. 


A. Wild Gallus bankiva. B. Cochin 

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 

Fig. £4. — Skulls of natural size, viewed from above, a little obliquely. 
Gallus bankiva. B. White-crested Polish Cock. 

A. Wild 


that of G. bankira, the breadth hctween the orbits was exactly 
double. Of Hambnrghs I have examined four skulls (male and fe- 
male) 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 premaxil- 
lary 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 flat- 
tened rose-comb characteristic of the Hamburgh breed. 

I have examined fourteen skulls of Polish and other crested breeds. 
Their differences are extraordinary. First for nine skulls of differ- 
ent sub-breeds of English Polish fowls. The hemispherical protu- 
berance of the frontal bones 68 may be seen in the accompanying 
drawings, in which (B) the skull of a white-crested Polish fowl is 
shown obliquely from above, with the skull (A) of G. bankiva in 
the same position. In fig. 35 longitudinal sections are given of the 
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 reticulation. A medial, longitudinal, arched 
ribbon of bone is generally retained, but in one specimen there was 
no bone whatever over the whole protuberance, and the skull when 
cleaned and viewed from above presented the appearance of an open 
basin. The change in the whole internal form of the skidl is sur- 
prisingly great. The brain is modified in a corresponding manner, 
as is shown in the two longitudinal sections, which deserve atten- 
tive 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 

69 See Mr. Tegetmeier's account, with 1. p. 2S7. M. C. Dareste suspects (' Re- 
woodcuts, of the skull of Polish fowls, in cherches sur les Conditions de la Vie,' 
'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' Nov. 25th, 1856. For &&, Lille, 1863, p. 3G) that the protube- 
other references, see Isid. Geoffroy Saint ranee is not formed by the frontal bones, 
Ililaire, ' Ilist. Gen. des Anomalies,' torn. but by the ossification of the dura mater. 



Chap. VII. 

and of all ordinary fowls a strong internal ridge of bone separates 
the anterior from the central cavity ; but this ridge is entirely ab- 
sent in the Polish skull here figured. The shape of the central 
cavity is circular in the Polish, and lengthened in the Cochin skull. 

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. 

The shape of the posterior cavity, together with the position, size, 
and number of the pores for the nerves, differ much in these two 
skulls. A pit deeply penetrating the occipital bone of the Cochin 
is entirely absent in this Polish skull, whilst in another specimen 
it was well developed. In this second specimen the whole internal 
surface of the posterior cavity likewise differs to a certain extent in 
shape. I made sections of two other skulls, — namely, of a Polish 
fowl with the protuberance singularly little developed, and of a 
Sultan in which it was a little more developed; and when these 
two skulls were placed between the two above figured (fig. 35), a 
perfect gradation in the configuration of each part of the internal 
surface could be traced. In the Polish skull, with a small protu- 
berance, 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. 

It may naturally be asked whether these remarkable modifica- 
tions in the form of the brain affect the intellect of Polish fowls ; 
some writers have stated that they are extremely stupid, but Bech- 
steia and Mr. Tegetmeier have shown that this is by no means 
generally the case. Nevertheless Bechstein 69 states that he had a 
Polish hen which " was crazy, and anxiously wandered about all 
day long." A hen in my possession was solitary in her habits, and 
was often so absorbed in reverie that she could be touched ; she 
was also deficient in the most singular manner in the faculty of 
finding her way, so that, if she strayed a hundred yards from her 
feeding-place, she was completely lost, and would then obstinately 
try to proceed in a wrong direction. I have received other and 
similar accounts of Polish fowls appearing stupid or half-idiotic. 70 

To return to the skull. The posterior part, viewed externally, 
differs little from that of G. bankii-a. 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 
onion of the two bones, however, is not constant in any breed ; 
and in eleven out of fourteen skulls of crested breeds, these pro- 
cesses 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 perpen- 
dicular 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, an- 
teriorly 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 

•• ' Naturpeschichte Deutsclilands,' have received communications to a si- 
Band iii. (1793), s. 400. milar effect from Messrs. Brent and 
7 ° The 'Field,' May 11th, 18G1. I Tegetmeier. 



Chap. VII. 

in a blunt, somewhat upturned point. In those skulls in which' 
the nasal bones approach quite close to each other or are ossified 
together, it would be impossible for the ascending branches of the 
premaxillary to reach the ethmoid and frontal bones ; hence we see 
that even the relative connection of the bones has been changed. 
Apparently in consequence of the branches of the premaxillary and 
of the inner processes of the nasal bones being somewhat upturned, 
the external orifices of the nostrils are upraised and assume a cre- 
scentic outline. 

Fig. 36. 

-Skull of Horned Fowl, of natural size, viewed from above, a little 
obliquely. (In the possession of Mr. Tegetmeier.) 

I must still say a few words on some of the foreign Crested 
breeds. The skull of a crested, rumpless, white Turkish fowl is 
very slightly protuberant, and but little perforated ; the ascending 
branches of the premaxillary are well developed. In another Tur- 
kish breed, called Ghoondooks, the skull is considerably protuberant 
and perforated ; the ascending branches of tbe premaxillary are so 
much aborted that they project only j 5 th of an inch ; and the inner 
processes of the nasal bone are so completely aborted, that the sur- 
face 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 protuberance 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 Polisb skull in most of its cha- 
racters, but has not tbe great frontal protuberance ; it lias, however, 
two rounded knobs of a different nature, which stand more in front, 
above the lachrymal bones. These curious knobs, into which the 
brain does not enter, are separated from each other by a deep me- 
dial 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 tbe premaxillary, upturned and shortened. 
The two knobs no doubt supported the two great horn-like pro- 
jections 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 protube- 
rance 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 Bechstcin, on a fleshy mass, but 
without any protuberance in the skull. I may add that I have seen 
a similar fleshy or fibrous mass beneath the tuft of feathers on the 
head of the Tufted duck ; and in tliis case there was aio actual pro- 
tuberance in the skull, but it had become a little more globular. 
Lastly, when we come to fowls with a largely developed crest, the 
skull becomes largely protuberant and is perforated by a multitude 
of irregular open spaces. The close relation between the crest and 
the size of the bony protuberance is shown in another way ; for 
Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that if chickens lately hatched be select- 
ed with a large bony protuberance, when adult they will have a 
large crest. There can be no doubt that in former times the breed- 
er 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 correlation of growth, he has at 
the same time affected the form and relative connexion of the pre- 
maxillary and nasal bones, the shape of the orifice of the nose, the 
breadth of the frontal bones, the shape of the post-lateral processes 
of the frontal and squamosal bones, the direction of the axis of the 
bony cavity of the ear, and lastly the internal configuration of the 
whole skull together with tbe shape of the brain. 

Vertebra. — In G. bankica there are fourteen cer%*ical, seven dorsal 
with ribs, apparently fifteen lumbar and sacral, and six caudal ver- 

322 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

tebrae ; 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 vertebra? in the several breeds difficult. I have 
spoken of six caudal vertebrae, because the basal one is almost com- 
pletely anchylosed with the pelvis ; but if we consider the number 
as seven, the caudal vertebras agree in all the skeletons. The cer- 
vical 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, m two Games, in two pencilled Harnburghs, and in 
a Polish, the fourteenth vertebra bore ribs, which, though small 
were perfectly developed with a double articulation. The presence 
of these little ribs cannot be considered as a fact of much impor- 
tance, for all the cervical vertebras bear representatives of ribs ; but 
their development in the fourteenth vertebra reduces the size of 
the passages in the transverse processes, and makes this vertebra 
exactly like the first dorsal vertebra. The addition of these little 
ribs does not affect the fourteenth cervical alone, for properly the 
ribs of the first true dorsal vertebra are destitute of processes ; but 
in some of the skeletons in which the fourteenth cervical bore little 
ribs, the first pair of true ribs had well-developed processes. When 
we know that the sparrow has only nine, and the swan twenty-three 
cervical 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 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 O. bamkwa), 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 vertebrae. So that the degree 
to which these middle dorsal vertebrae are anchylosed together is 

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 lum- 
bar in G. ba?ikiva ; the sternal portion of both the seventh and eighth 
ribs did not reach the sternum. In four skeletons in which ribs 

71 It appears that I have not correctly 15 lumbar, and 6 caudal vertebrae in this 

designated the several groups of verte- genus. But I have used the same terms 

bras, for a great authority, Mr. W. K. in all the following descriptions. 
Parker ('Transact. Zoolog. Soc.,' vol. v. 72 Macgillivray, 'British Birds,' vol. 

p. 19S), specifies 16 cervical, 4 dorsal, i. p. 25. 


were developed on the fourteenth cervical vertebra, there were, when 
these cervical ribs are included, eight pairs ; but in one Game-cock, 
in which the fourteenth cervical was furnished with ribs, there were 
only six pairs of true dorsal ribs ; the sixth pair in this case did not 
have processes, and thus resembled the seventh pair in other skele- 
tons ; in this game-cock, as far as could be judged from the appear- 
ance of the lumbar vertebrae, a whole dorsal vertebra with its ribs 
was missing. We thus see that the ribs (whether or not the little 
pair attached to the fourteenth cervical vertebra be counted) vary 
from six to eight pair. The sixth pair is frequently not furnished 
with processes. The sternal portion of the seventh pair is extreme- 
ly broad in Cochins, and is completely ossified. As previously stated, 
it is scarcely possible to count the lumbo-sacral vertebra? ; but they 
certainly do not correspond in shape or number in the several skele- 
tons. The caudal vertebrae 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 vertebrae were a little elongated. 
In three rumpless fowls the caudal vertebrae were few in number, 
and anchylosed together into a misformed mass. 

In the individual vertebrae the differences in structure are very 
slight. In the atlas the cavity for the oc- 
cipital condyle is either ossified into a ring, 
or is, as in Bankiva, open on its upper 
margin. The upper arc of the spinal ca- 
nal is a little more arched in Cochins, in 
conformity with the shape of occipital 
foramen, than in G. bankiva. In several 
skeletons a difference, but not of much 
importance, may be observed, which com- 
mences at the fourth cervical vertebra, 

and is greatest at about the sixth, seventh, 

. , . . . , tebra, of natural size, viewed 

or eighth vertebra; this consists in the , aterally- A . wild GaUm 

haemal descending processes being united bankiva. B. Cochin Cock. 
to the body of the vertebra by a sort of 

buttress. This structure may be observed in Cochins, Polish, some 
Hamburghs, and probably other breeds ; but is absent, or barely 
developed, in Game, Dorking, Spanish, Bantam, and several other 
breeds examined by me. On the dorsal surface of the sixth cervical 
vertebra in Cochins three prominent points are more strongly de- 
veloped than in the corresponding vertebra of the Game-fowl or G. 
hi 1 1 Idea. 

Pelvis. — This differs in some few points in the several skeletons. 

37.— Sixth Cervical Ver- 



Chap. TIL 

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 being more truncated in Bantams, and more 
rounded in certain breeds, as in Cochins. The outline of the ischi- 
adic foramen differs considerably, being nearly circular in Bantams, 
instead of egg-shaped as in the Bankiva, and more regularly oval in 
some skeletons, as in the Spanish. The obturator notch is also much 
less elongated in some skeletons than in others. The end of the 
pubic bone presents the greatest difference ; being hardly enlarged 
in the Bankiva ; considerably and gradually enlarged in Cochins, 
and in a lesser degree in some other breeds ; and abruptly enlarged 
in Bantams. In one Bantam this bone extended very little beyond 
the extremity of the ischium. The whole pelvis in this latter bird 
differed widely in its proportions, being far broader proportionally to 
its length than in Bankiva. 

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 ex- 
tremity of the lateral processes 
differs considerably, being either 
almost equilateral or much elon- 
gated. The front margin of the 
crest is more or less perpendicu- 
lar and varies greatly, as does 
the curvature of the posterior 
end, and the flatness of the low- 
er surface. The outline of the 
manubrial process also varies, 
being wedge-shaped in the Ban- 
kiva, and rounded in the Spanish 
breed. Thrfurcula differs in be- 
ing 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 
present no difference worth no- 
tice. 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. 

Fig. 38.— Extremity of the Furcula, of 
natural size, viewed laterally. A. Wild 
Gallus bankiva. B. Spangled Polish 
Fowl. C. Spanish Fowl. D. Dorking 


I carefully cornj>ared each separate bone of the leg and wing, rela- 
tively to the snrae bones in the wild Bankiva. in the following breeds, 
which I thought were the most likely to differ ; namely, in Cochin, 
Dorking - , Spanish, Polish, Burmese Bantam, Frizzled Indian, and 
black-boned Silk fowls ; and it was truly surprising to see how abso- 
lutely 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 va- 
ried considerably in both these respects. But the other limb-bones 
varied little even in relative length. 

Finally, I have not examined a sufficient number of 
skeletons to say whether any of the foregoing differen- 
ces 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 Hamburgh s and 
Games, and the breadth of the end of the pubic bone in 
Cochins. Both skeletons of the Sultan fowl had eight 
d >real vertebrae, and the end of the scapula in both was 
somewhat attenuated. In the skull, the deep medial fur- 
row in the frontal bones and the vertically elongated oc- 
cipital foramen seem to be characteristic of Cochins ; as 
is the great breadth of the frontal bones in Dorkings ; 
the separation and open spaces between the tips of the 
ascending branches of the premaxillaries and nasal bones, 
as well as the front part of the skull being but little de- 
pressed, 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 be- 
fore specified, are eminently characteristic of Polish and 
other Crested fowls. 

But the most striking result of our examination of the 
skeleton is the great variability of all the bones except 
those of the extremities. To a certain extent we can 
understand why the skeleton fluctuates so much in struc- 

326 FOWLS, Chap. V1L 

ture ; fowls have been exposed to unnatural conditions 
of life, and their whole organisation has thus been render- 
ed variable ; but the breeder is quite indifferent to, and 
never intentionally selects, any modifications in the ske- 
leton. 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 " in Dorkings, and has become 
a fixed character, but is variable in Cochins and Silk- 
fowls. The colour of the plumage and the form of the 
comb are in most breeds, or even sub-breeds, eminently 
fixed characters ; but in Dorkings these points have not 
been attended to, and are variable. When any modifica- 
tion in the skeleton is related to some external charac- 
ter which man values, it has been, unintentionally on his 
part, acted on by selection, and has become more or less 
fixed. We see this in the wonderful protuberance of the 
skull, which supports the crest of feathers in Polish fowls, 
and which by correlation has affected other parts of the 
skull. We see the same result in the two protuberances 
which support the horns in the horned fowl, and in the 
flattened shape of the front of the skull in Hamburgh s 
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. 

Chap. vii. THE EFFECTS OF DISUSE. 327 

Effects of the Disuse of Parts. 

Judging from the habits of our European gallinaceous birds, Gal- 
hu bankvoa 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-feath- 
ers, cannot fly at all ; and there is reason to believe that both these 
breeds are ancient, so that their progenitors during many genera- 
tions 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. bankim ; and it was surprising to 
see (except in the case of the tarsi) how exactly the same relative 
length had been retained. This fact is curious, from showing how 
truly the proportions of an organ may be inherited, although not fully 
exercised during many generations. I then compared in several 
breeds the length of the femur and tibia with the humerus and ulna 
and likewise these same bones with those of G. banldca ; the result 
was that the wing bones in all the breeds (except the Burmese 
Jumper, which has unnaturally short legs) are slightly shortened re- 
latively to the leg-bones ; but the decrease is so slight that it may be 
due to the standard specimen of G. baukka having accidentally had 
wings of slightly greater length than usual ; so that the measure- 
ments 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 wing's are somewhat reduced in length, whilst the primary 
feathers are rather increased in length, and it is just possible, though 
not probable, that in the Silk and Frizzled fowls any tendency to 
decrease in the length of the wing-bones "from disuse may have 
been checked through the law of compensation, by the decreased 
growth of the wing feathers, and consequent increased supply of 
nutriment. The wing-bones, however, in both these breeds, are 
found to be slightly reduced in length when judged by the standard 
of the length of the sternum or head, relatively to these same parts 
in G. banJ.irn. 

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 



Chap. VII. 

leg-bones, in comparison with the leg and wing-bones of G. bankica, 
are given in the third column, — the weight of the wing-bones in 
O. bankiva being called a hundred. 73 

Table I. 

Weight of 


bones rela- 

Names of Breeds. 

Weight of 
Femur and 


Weight of 

tively to 
the Leg- 
bones, in 


and Ulna. 

son with 
these same 
bones in G. 




G alius bankiva . . . . wild male 





Cochin male 





Dorking male 





Spanish (Minorca) . . male 





Gold Spangled Polish male 





Game, black-breasted male 





Malay female 









Indian Frizzled . . . . male 





Burmese Jumper . . female 





Hamburgh (pencilled) male 





Hamburgh (pencilled) female 





Silk (black-boned) . . female 




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 car- 
ried to the greatest extent, namely, to thirty-three per cent, of their 
proper proportional weight. In the next four birds, including the 
Silk-hen, which is incapable of flight, we see that the wings, rela- 
tively to the legs/are slightly increased in weight ; but it should be 

73 It may be well to explain how the 
calculation has been made for the third 
column. In G. bankiva the leg-bones 
are to the wing-bones as 86 : 54, or 
as (neglecting decimals) 100 : G2 ; — in 
Cochins as 311 : 102, or as 100 : 52 ;— in 
Dorkings as 557 ; 248, or as 100 : 44 ; 
and so on for the other breeds. We thus 
get the series of 62, 52, 44 for the relative 

weights of the wing-bcnesin G. bankiva, 
Cochins, Dorkings, &c. And now tak- 
ing 100, instead of G2, for the weight of 
the wing-bones in G. bankiva, we get, 
by another rule of three, 83 as the weight 
of the wing-bones in Cochins ; 70 in the 
Dorkings ; and so on for the remainder 
of the third column in the table. 


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 na- 
ture 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 eye- 
sight, but after having calculated the weights of the leg-bones rela- 
tively 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 ap- 
prehend, 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 ac- 
tually increased in weight out of due proportion with the rest of the 
body ; this I cannot show, from not knowing, as already remarked, 
the weight of the wild Bankiva. 74 I am indeed inclined to suspect 
that the leg-bones in the Dorking, No. 2 in the table, are proportion- 
ally 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 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 

M Mr. Blyth (in ' Annals and Hag. of I have seen of the skins and skeletons 

Nat. Hist.,' 2nd series, vol. i., 1S4S, p. of various breeds, I cannot believe that 

456) gives 0} lb. as the weight of a full- my two specimens of G. bankiva could 

grown male G. bankiva ; but from what have weighed so much. 



Chap. VII. 

column we have the calculated depth of the crest, relatively to the 
length of the sternum, in comparison with these same parts in O. 
bankiva.' 15 

Table II. 

Names of Breeds. 



Depth of 




Depth of Crest, 

relatively to the 

length of the 

Sternum, in 

comparison with 

G. bankiva. 













Gallus bankiva . . male 

Cochin male 

Dorking male 

Polish male 

Game male 

Sultan male 

Frizzled hen . . . . male 
Burmese Juniper . . female 
Hamburgh . . . . male 
Hamburgh . . . . female 





. 87 
. 90 

By looking to the third column we see that in every case the depth 
of the crest relatively to the length of the sternum, in comparison 
with G. bankiva, is diminished, generally between 10 and 20 per cent. 
But the degree of reduction varies much, partly in consequence of 
the frequently deformed state of the sternum. In the Silk-fowl, 
which cannot fly, the crest is 34 per cent, less deep than what it 
ought to have been. This reduction of the crest in all the breeds 
probably accounts for the great variability, before referred to, in the 
curvature of the furcula, and in the shape of its sternal extremity. 
Medical men believe that the abnormal form of the spine so com- 
monly observed in women of the higher ranks results from the at- 
tached muscles not being fully exercised. So it is with our domes- 
tic fowls, for they use their pectoral muscles but little, and, out of 
twenty-five sternums examined by me, three alone were perfectly 
symmetrical, ten were moderately crooked, and twelve were de- 
formed to an extreme degree. 

Finally, we may conclude with respect to the various 

75 The third column is calculated on the same principle as explained in the pre- 
vious foot-note, p. 328. 


breeds of the fowl, that the main bones of the wing have 
probably been shortened in a very slight degree^, that 
they have certainly become lighter relatively to the leg- 
bones in all the breeds in which these latter bones are 
not unnaturally short or delicate; and that the crest of 
the sternum, to which the pectoral muscles are attached, 
has invariably become less prominent, the whole sternum 
being also extremely liable to deformity. These results 
Ave may attribute to the lessened use of the wings. 

Correlation of Groioth. — I will here sum up the few 
facts which I have collected on this obscure, but impor- 
tant, subject. In Cochins and Game-fowls there is some 
relation between the colour of the plumage and the dark- 
ness 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 feathered legs, large crest, aiM 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 ab- 
sent Avattles. 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 great- 
ly 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 corre- 

332 .FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

lation between a crest of feathers and the imperfectly os- 
sified •condition of the skull. Not only does this hold 
good with nearly all crested fowls, but likewise with tuft- 
ed ducks, and as Dr. Giinther informs me with tufted 
geese in Germany. 

Lastly, the feathers composing the crest in male Polish 
fowls resemble hackles, and differ greatly in shape from 
those in the crest of the female. The neck, wing-coverts, 
and loins in the male bird are properly covered with 
hackles, and it would appear that feathers of this shape 
have spread by correlation to the head of the male. This 
little fact is interesting ; because, though both sexes of 
some wild gallinaceous birds have their heads similarly 
ornamented, yet there is often a difference in the size and 
shape of feathers forming their crests. Furthermore 
there is in some cases, as in the male Gold and in the male 
Amherst pheasants (P. pictus and 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 domestication. 









SILK-MOTHS, species and breeds of — anciently domesti- 

I will, as in previous cases, first briefly describe the 
chief domestic breeds of the duck : — 

Breed 1. Common Domestic Duck. — Varies much in colour and in 
proportions, and differs in instincts and disposition from the wild- 
duck. There are several sub-hreeds : — (1) The Aylesbury, of great 
size, white, with pale-yellow beak and legs ; abdominal sack largely 
developed. (2) The Rouen, of great size, coloured like the wild- 
duck, with green or mottled beak ; abdominal sack largely devel- 
oped. (3) Tufted Duck, with a large top-knot of fine downy 
feathers, supported on a fleshy mass, with the skull perforated be- 
neath. 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 

334 DOMESTIC DUCKS. Chap. vra. 

broader, relatively to its length, than in the wild-duck ; eggs 
slightly tinted with black. This sub-breed perhaps ought to be 
ranked as a breed ; it includes two sub-varieties, one as large as the 
common domestic duck, which I have kept alive, and the other 
smaller and often capable of flight. 1 I presume it is this latter sub- 
variety which has been described in France 2 as flying well, being 
rather wild, and when cooked having the flavour of the wild-duck ; 
nevertheless this sub-variety is polygamous, like other domesticated 
ducks and unlike the wild-duck. These black Labrador ducks breed 
true ; but a case is given by Dr. Turral of the French sub-Variety 
producing young with some white feathers on the head and neck, 
and with an ochre-coloured patch on the breast. 

Breed 2. Hook-hilled Duck. — This bird presents an extraordinary 
appearance from the downward curvature of the beak. The head 
is often tufted. The common colour is white, but some are coloured 
like wild-ducks. It is an ancient breed, having been noticed in 
1676. 3 It shows its prolonged domestication by almost incessantly 
laying eggs, like the fowls which are called everlasting layers. 4 

Breed 3. Call-Duck. — Remarkable from its small size, and from 
the extraordinary loquacity of the female. Beak short. These 
birds are either white, or coloured like the wild-duck. 

Breed 4. Penguin Duck. — This is the most remarkable of all 
the breeds, and seems to have originated in the Malayan archipela 
go. It walks with its body extremely erect, and with its thin neck 
stretched straight upwards. Beak rather short. Tail upturned, in- 
cluding only 18 feathers. Femur and metatarsi elongated. 

Almost all naturalists admit that the several breeds 
are descended from the common wild duck (Anas bos- 
chas) ; most fanciers, on the other hand, take as usual a- 
very different view. 6 Unless we deny that domestica- 
tion, prolonged during centuries, can affect even such 
unimportant characters as colour, size, and in a slight 
degree proportional dimensions and mental disposition, 

1 ' Poultry Chronicle ' (1854), vol. ii. p. torn. ix. p. 128, says that moulting and 
91, and vol. i. p. 330. incubation alone stop these ducks laying. 

2 Dr. Turral, in 'Bull. Soc. d'Acclimat.,' Mr. B. P. Brent makes a similar remark 
torn, vii., 1S60, p. 541. in the ' Poultry Chronicle,' 1S55, vol. 

3 Willughby's ' Ornithology,' by Ray, iii. p. 512. 

p. 381. This breed is also figured by 6 Rev. E. S. Dixon, ' Ornamental and 

Albin, in 1734, inhis 'Nat. Hist, of Birds,' Domestic Poultry' (184S), p. 117. Mr. B. 

vol. ii. p. 86. P. Brent, in ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. iii. 

4 F. Cuvier, in ' Annales du Museum,' 1855, p. 512. 


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 8 to the ancient Egyptians, to the Jews 
of the Old Testament, and to the Greeks of the Homeric 
period. About eighteen centuries ago Columella 7 and 
Varro speak of the necessity of keeping clucks in netted 
enclosures like other wild fowl, so that at this period 
there was danger of their flying away. Moreover, the 
plan recommended by Columella to those who might 
wish to increase their stock of ducks, namely, to collect 
the eggs of the wild bird and to place them under a hen, 
shows, as Mr. Dixon remarks, " that the duck had not at 
this time become a naturalised and prolific inmate of the 
Roman poultry-yard." The origin of the domestic duck 
from the wild species is recognised in nearly every lan- 
guage of Europe, as Aldrovandi long ago remarked, by 
the same name being applied to both. The wild duck 
has a wide range from the Himalayas to North America. 
It crosses readily with the domestic bird, and the crossed 
offspring are perfectly fertile. 

Both in North America and Europe the wild duck has 
been found easy to tame and breed. In Sweden this ex- 
periment was carefully tried by Tiburtius ; he succeeded 
in rearing wild ducks for three generations, but, though 
they were ti'eated like common ducks, they did not vary 
even in a single feather. The young birds suffered from 
beino: allowed to swim about in cold water, 8 as is known 

8 Crawfurd on the ' Relation of Domes- marked by Volz, in his ' Beitrage zur 

ticated Animals to Civilisation,' read be- Kulturgeschichte,' 1852, s. 78. 

fore the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford. 8 I quote this account from ' Die En- 

7 Dureau de la Malle, in ' Annales des ten, Schwanen-zucht,' Ulm, 1S2S, a. 143. 

Sciences Nat.,' torn. xvii. p. 164 ; and See Audubon's ' Ornithological Biogra- 

tom. xxi. p. 55. Rev. E. S. Dixon, 'Or- phy,' vol. iii., p. 168, on t Iir- taming of 

namental Poultry,' p. 118. Tame ducks ducks on the Mississippi. For the same 

were not known in Aristotle's time, as re- fact in England, see Mr. Waterton, In 


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 domes- 
ticating the wild duck. Young birds arc easily reared 
from eggs hatched under a bantam ; but to succeed it is 
indispen sable 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 breth- 
ren 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 cer- 
tainty." The wild ducklings were from the first quite 
tame towards those who took care of them as long as 
they wore the same clothes, and likewise to the dogs and 
cats of the house. They would even snap with their 
beaks at the dogs, and drive them away from any spot 
which they coveted. But they were much alarmed at 
strange men and dogs. Differently from what occurred 
in Sweden, Mr. Hewitt found that his young birds al- 
ways 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 car- 
riage 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 always 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 

Loudon's ' Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. viii. 1846, p. 129. 

1835, p. 542; and Mr. St. John, ' Wild 9 Mr. E. Hewitt, in ' Journal of Hortl- 

Sports and Nat. Hist, of the Highlands,' culture,' 1862, p. 7T3 ; and 1863, p. 39, 


birds continued to pair together, and never became poly- 
gamous 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 parent- 
age of the more distinct breeds, namely, Penguin, Call, 
Hook-billed, Tufted, and Labrador ducks. I will not re- 
peat the arguments used in the previous chapters on the 
improbability of man having in ancient times domesti- 
cated several species since become unknown or extinct, 
though ducks ai*e 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 fer- 
tile together; 10 — on all the breeds having the same gene- 
ral 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 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 de- 
scended from distinct species, we must assume that man 
formerly hit upon species all of which had this now uni- 
que character. Moreover, sub-varieties of each breed are 
coloured almost exactly like the wild duck, as I have 

10 I have met with several statements were quite fertile, though they were not 
on the fertility of the several breeds bred inter se, so that the experiment 
when crossed. Mr. Yarrell assured me was not fully tried. Some half-bred Pen- 
that Call and common ducks are per- guins and Labradors were again crossed 
fectly fertile together. I crossed Hook- with Penguins, and subsequently bred 
billed and common ducks, and a Penguin by me vivter se, and they were extremely 
and Labrador, and the crossed ducks fertile. 


seen with the largest and smallest breeds, namely Rouens 
and Call-ducks, and, as Mr. Brent states, 11 is the case 
with Hook-billed ducks. This gentleman, as he informs 
me, crossed a white Aylesbury drake and a black Labra- 
dor 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 speci- 
mens, and none were coloured precisely like the wild 
duck ; but Sir James Brooke sent me three skins from 
Lombok and Bali, in the Malayan archipelago ; the two 
females were paler and more rufous than the wild duck, 
and the drake differed in having the whole under and 
upper surface (excepting the neck, tail-coverts, tail, and 
wings) silver-grey, finely pencilled with dark lines, closely 
like certain parts of the plumage of the wild mallard. 
But I found this drake to be identical in every feather 
with a variety of the common breed procured from a 
farm-yard in Kent, and I have occasionally elsewhere 
seen similar specimens. The occurrence of a duck bred 
under so peculiar a climate as that of the Malayan archi- 
pelago, where the wild species does not exist, with ex- 
actly 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 Pen- 
guin 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. 

For 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 resem- 

n ' Poultry Ciu-onicle,' 1S35 ( vol. iii. 12 'Journal of the Indian Arctipela- 

p. 512. go,' vol. v. p. 334. 


bling in general plumage the wild cluck, we may conclude 
with confidence that all the breeds are descended from 
A. boschciB. 

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 varia- 
tions sometimes occur and are inherited ; Mr. Hansell 13 relates that 
he had a common duck which always laid eggs with the yolk of a 
dark -brown colour like melted glue ; and the young ducks, hatched 
from these eggs, laid the same kind of eggs, so that the breed had 
to be destroyed. 

The hooked-billed duck has a most remarkable appearance (see 
fig. of skull, woodcut No. 39) ; and its peculiar beak has been in- 
herited at least since the year 1676. This structure is evidently 
analogous with that described in the Bagadotten carrier pigeon. 
Mr. Brent M says that, when hook-billed ducks are crossed with com- 
mon ducks, " many young ones are produced with the upper man- 
dible 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 pecu- 
liarity which was sent to me from the Malayan archipelago. The 
tuft is only so far interesting as it affects the skull, which is thus 
rendered slightly more globular, and is perforated by numerous 
apertures. Call-ducks are remarkable from their extraordinary 
loquacity ; the drake only hisses like common drakes ; nevertheless, 
when paired with the common duck, he transmits to his female 
offspring a strong quacking tendency. This loquacity seems at first 
a surprising character to have been acquired under domestication. 

>3 'The Zoologist,' vols, vii., viii. 14 'Poultry Chronicle,' 1855, vol. 111. 

(1849-1850), p. 2858. p. 512. 



Chap. VIII. 

But the voice varies in the different breeds ; Mr. Brent 15 says that 
hook-billed ducks are very loquacious, and that Rouens utter a 
" dull, loud, and monotonous cry, easily distinguishable by an ex- 
perienced ear." As the loquacity of the Call-duck is highly ser- 
viceable, 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 falsely asserted 
that Call-ducks hatch their esrgs in less time than common ducks." 

Fig. 39. — Skulls, viewed laterally, reduced to two-thirds of the natural size. 
A. Wild Duck. 13. Hook-billed Duck. 

The Penguin duck is the most remarkable of all the breeds ; the 
thin neck and body are carried erect ; the wings are small ; the tail 
is upturned, and the thigh bones and metatarsi are considerably 
lengthened in proportion with the same bones in the wild duck. In 
five specimens examined by me there were only eighteen tail-feathers 
instead of twenty as in the wild duck ; but I have also found only 
eighteen and nineteen tail-feathers in two Labrador ducks. On the 

15 ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. iii., 1855, 
p. 312. With respect to Rouens, see 
ditto, vol. i., 1854, p. 167. 

16 Col. Hawker's ' Instructions to 

young Sportsmen,' quoted by Mr. Dixon 
in his ' Ornamental Poultry,' p. 125. 

17 ' Cottage Gardener,' April 9th, 


middle toe, in three specimens, there were twenty-seven or twenty- 
eight BCUteUse, 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, be- 
tween one of these birds and the Egyptian goose I8 {Tadorna JEgyp- 
tiaca), 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 descend- 
ant, much modified by domestication under an unnatural chimate, 
of Anas boschas. 

Osteological Characters. — The skulls of the several different breeds 
differ from each other and from the skull of the wild duck in very lit- 
tle except in the proportional length and curvature of the premaxil- 
laries. These latter bones in the Call-duck are short, and a line 
draw r n from their extremities to the summit of the skull is nearly 
straight, instead of being concave as in the common duck ; so that the 
skull resembles that of a small goose. In the hook-billed duck (fig. 39) 
these same bones as well as the lower jaw curve downwards in a 
most remarkable manner, as represented. In the Labrador duck 
the premaxillaries are rather broader than in the wild duck ; and 
in two skulls of this breed the vertical ridges on each side of the 
supra-occipital bone are very prominent. In the Penguin the pre- 
maxillaries are relatively shorter than in the wild duck ; and the in- 
ferior points of the paramastoids more prominent. In a Dutch tufted 
duck, the skull under the enormous tuft was slightly more globular 
and was perforated by two large apertures ; in this skull the lachry- 
mal 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 completing the bony orbit of the eye. 
As the quadrate and pterygoid bones are of such complex shape 
and stand in relation with so many other bones, I carefully com- 
pared them in all the principal breeds ; but excepting in size they 
presented no difference. 

Vertebral and Bibs. — In one skeleton of the Labrador duck there 
were the usual fifteen cervical vertebrae and the usual nine dorsal 
vertebra? bearing ribs ; in the other skeleton there were fifteen cervical 
and ten dorsal vertebra? with ribs ; nor, as far as could be judged, was 

18 These hybrids have been described letins (torn. xii. No. 10) Acad. Roy. de 
by M. Selys-Longchamps in the ' Bui- Bruxelles.' 



Chap. VIII.. 

this owing merely to a rib having 
been developed on the first lumbar 
vertebra ; 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 dor- 
sal vertebra ; in a third skeleton 
small ribs were attached to the so- 
called fifteenth cervical vertebra, 
making ten pairs of ribs ; but these 
ten ribs do not correspond, or arise 
from the same vertebrae, with the 
ten in the above-mentioned Labra- 
dor duck. In the Call-duck, which 
had small ribs attached to the fif- 
teenth cervical vertebra, the hae- 
mal spines of the thirteenth and 
fourteenth (cervical) and of the 
seventeenth (dorsal) vertebrae cor- 
responded with the spines on the 
fourteenth, fifteenth, and eigh- 
teenth vertebrae of the wild duck : so that each of these vertebrae 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 haemal spine stand much closer together than in the 
wild duck (A), and the descending haemal processes are much short- 
ened. In the Penguin duck the neck from its thinness and erect- 
ness falsely appears (as ascertained by measurement) to be much 
elongated, but the cervical and dorsal vertebrae present no differ- 
ence ; the posterior dorsal vertebrae, however, are more completely 
anehylosed to the pelvis than in the wild duck. The Aylesbury duck 
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 fif- 
teenth cervical vertebra occasionally becomes modified into a dorsal 
vertebra, and when this occurs all the adjoining vertebrae are modi- 
fied. We also see that an additional dorsal vertebra bearing a rib is 

Fig. 40. — Cervical Vertebrae, of natural 
size. A. Eighth cervical vertebra of 
Wild Duck, viewed on haemal sur- 
face. 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. 



occasionally developed, the number of the cervical and lumbar verte- 
bra- 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 elon- 
gated. In the sternum, furcula, coracoids, and scapula, the differ- 
ences arc 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 coidd 
be observed. But in Peguin and Hook-billed ducks, the terminal 
phalanges of the wing are a little shortened. In the former, the 
femur and metatarsus (but not the tibia) are considerably lengthened, 
relatively to the same bones in the wild duck, and to the wing-bones 
in both birds. This elongation of the leg-bones could be seen whilst 
the bird was alive, and is no doubt connected with its peculiar up- 
right manner of walking. In a large Aylesbury duck, on the other 
hand, the tibia was the only bone of the leg which relatively to the 
other bones was slightly lengthened. 

On the effects of the increased and decreased Use of the Limbs. — 
In all the breeds the bones of the wing (measured separately after 
having been cleaned) relatively to those of the leg have become 
slightly shortened, in comparison with the same bones in the wild 
duck, as may be seen in the following table : — 

Name of Breed. 

Length of Femur, 
Tiliia. and Meta- 
tarsus together. 

Length of Humerus', 

Radius, and Meta- 
carpus together. 

Or as 

Wild mallard . . 
Tufted (Dutch) . . 









100 : 129 
100 • 120 
100 : 119 
100 : 123i 
100 : 123 

Wild duck (another ) 

specimen) . . . . S 

Common domestic duck 

Length of same 

Length of all the 
Bones of Wing. 

100 : 147 
100 : 138 







Chap. VIIZ 

In the foregoing table we see that, in comparison with the wild 
duck, the reduction in the length of the bones of the wing, rela- 
tively to those of the legs, though slight, is universal. The reduc- 
tion 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) . . 

Call , 









100 : 179 
100 : 124 
100 : 149 
100 : 133 
100 : 120 
100 : 117 
100 : 163 

Wild (another speci- ) 
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 ac- 
tual 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 dispro- 
portion 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 till 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 

Name of Breed. 

Weislit of entire 

(N. B. One Meta- 
tarsus and Foot 
was removed 
from each skele- 
ton, as it had 
been acciden- 
tally lost in two 

Weight of 

Femur, Tibia, 

and Metatarsus. 

Or as 

Wild mallard . . 
Tufted (Dutch) . . 
Call (from Mr. Fox) .. 













1000 : 64 
1000 : 85 
1000 : 79 
1000 : 86 
1000 : 79 

Wild mallard . . 

Tufted (Dutch) . . 

Call (from Mr. Baker) 
Call (from Mr. Fox) . . 

Weight of Skele- 
ton as above. 

Weight of 
Humerus, Ra- 
dius and Ulna, 
aud Metacarpus. 

1000 : 115 
1000 : 105 
1000 : 105 
1000 : 103 
1000 : 109 
1000 : 129 







the second table we see, with the exception of one case, a plain re- 
duction 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 clay 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 

346 DOMESTIC DUCKS. Chap. Vin. 

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 hun- 
dred in the former to eighty-nine in the latter; this shows that 
these bones in the domestic duck have been reduced eleven per 
cent, of their due proportional weight. The prominence of the 
crest of the sternum, relatively to its length, is also much reduced 
in all the domestic breeds. These changes have evidently been 
caused by the lessened use of the wings. 

It is well known that several birds, belonging to dif- 
ferent Orders, and inhabiting oceanic islands, have their 
wings greatly reduced in size and are incapable of flight. 
I suggested in my ' Origin of Species ' that, as these 
birds are not persecuted by any enemies, the reduction 
of their wings has probably been caused by gradual dis- 
use. 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 ob- 
viously 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 Euroj)ean water-hen (G. cJtloro- 
pus). On the other hand, the thigh-bones and pelvis 
are increased in length, the former by four lines, rela- 
tively 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 pre- 
sume no one will dispute that they have resulted from 
the lessened use of the wings and the increased use of 
the legs. 

19 'Proc Zoolog. Soc.,' 1861, p. 261. 

Chap. Vlir. DOMESTIC GOOSE. 347 

The Goose. 

This bird deserves some notice, as hardly any other an- 
ciently domesticated bird or quadruped has varied so 
little. That geese were anciently domesticated we know 
from certain verses in Homer ; and from these birds hav- 
ing 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 resp>ect 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 con- 
vinced 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 1849, per- 
fectly fertile offspring. 23 Yarrell 24 has observed that the 
lower part of the trachea of the domestic goose is some- 
times flattened, and that a ring of white feathers sometimes 
surrounds the base of the beak. These characters seem 
at first good indications of a cross at some former period 
with the white-fronted goose {A. albifroiis) ; 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 

As the goose has proved so inflexible in its organization 

20 'Ceylon,' by Sir J. E. Tennent, 22 Mr. A. Strickland ('Annals and 

1859, vol. i. p. 485; also J. Oawfurd on Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 3rd Series, vol. iii. 
the 'Relation of Domest. Animals to 1S59, p. 122) reared some young wild 
Civilisation,' read before Brit. Assoc, geese, and found them in habits and in 

1860. See also ' Ornamental Poultry,' all characters identical with the domes- 
by Rev. E. S. Dixon, 1S4S, p, 132. The tic goose. 

goose figured on the Egyptian monu- 23 See also Hunter's ' Essays,' edited 

ments seems to have been the Red goose by Owen, vol. ii. p. 322. 

of E;;ypt. s4 Yarrell's ' British Birds,' vol. iii. p. 

21 Macgillivray's ' British Birds,' vol. 142. He refers to the Laplanders domes- 
lv. p. 593. ticating the goose. 


under long-continued domestication, the amount of varia- 
tion which can be detected is worth giving. It has in- 
creased in size and in productiveness ; " and varies from 
white to a dusky colour. Several observers 26 have stated 
that the gander is more frequently white than the goose, 
and that when old it almost invariably becomes white ; 
but this is not the case with the parent-form, the A. ferus. 
Here, again, the law of analogous variation may have 
come into play, as the snow-white male of the Rock- 
Goose {Bemicla antarctica) 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 topknots ; 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." 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 ser- 
viceable in discriminating the several closely allied wild 
forms. 29 At our Shows two breeds are exhibited ; viz. 
the Embden and Toulouse ; but they differ in nothing ex- 
cept colour. 30 Recently a smaller and singular variety 
has been imported from Sebastopol, 31 with the scapular 
feathers (as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, who sent me 
specimens) greatly elongated, curled, and even spirally 

25 L. Lloyd, ' Scandinavian Adven- Zoological Soc, Feb. 1860. 

tures,' 1854, vol. ii. p. 413, says that 28 W. Thompson, ' Natural Hist, of Ire- 

the wild goose lays from five to eight land,' 1851, vol. ui.ip.31. The Rev. E. S. 

eggs, which is a much fewer number Dixon gave me some information on the 

than that laid by our domestic goose. varying colour of the beak and legs. 

28 The Rev. L. Jenyns seems first to S9 Mi-. A. Strickland, in ' Annals and 

have made this observation in his ' Bri- Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 3rd series, vol. Hi., 

tish Animals.' See also Yarrell, and 1859, p. 122. 

Dixon in his 'Ornamental Poultry' (p. 30 ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i., 1854, p. 

139), and ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S57, 49S ; vol. iii. p. 210. 

p. 45. si 'The Cottage Gardener,' Sept. 4th, 

27 Mr. Bartlett exhibited the head and 1860, p. 348. 
neck of a bird thus characterised at the 


twisted. The margins of these feathers are rendered 
plumose by the divergence of the barbs and barbules, so 
that they resemble in some degree those on the back of 
the black Australian swan. These feathers are likewise 
remarkable from the central shaft, which is excessively 
thin and transparent, being split into fine filaments, which, 
liter running for a space free, sometimes coalesce again. 
It is a curious fact that these filaments are regularly 
clothed on each side with fine down or barbules, precisely 
like those on the proper barbs of the feather. This struc- 
ture of the feathers is transmitted to half-bred birds. 
In Gallus sonneratii the barbs and barbules blend to- 
gether, 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 some- 
what from any known wild species, yet the amount of 
variation which it has undergone, as compared with most 
domesticated animals, is singularly small. This fact can 
be partially accounted for by selection not having come 
largely into play. Birds of all kinds which present many 
distinct races are valued as pets or ornaments ; no one 
makes a pet of the goose ; the name, indeed, in more 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 pi-olificness 
and tameness. In all these points the goose differs from 
the wild parent-form ; and these are the points which 
have been selected. Even in ancient times the Roman 
gourmands valued the liver of the ichite 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 mana- 

ss 'L' Hist, de la Nature des Oiseaux,' red by the Romans, see Isid. Geoffroy 
par P. Belon, 1555, p. 156. With respect St. Hilaire, ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. 
to the livers of white geese being prefer- p. 59. 

350 PEACOCK. Chap. VIII. 

gers 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 do- 
mestication, except in sometimes being white or piebald.* 
Mr. Waterhouse carefully compared, as he informs me, 
skins of the wild Indian and domestic bird, and they were 
identical in every respect, except that the plumage of the 
latter was perhaps rather thicker. Whether our birds are 
descended from those introduced into Europe in the time 
of Alexander, or have been subsequently imported, is 
doubtful. They do not breed very freely with us, and 
are seldom kept in large numbers, — circumstances which 
would greatly interfere with the gradual selection and 
formation of new breeds. 

There is one strange fact with respect to the peacock, 
namely, the occasional appearance in England of the 
"japanned " or " black-shouldered " kind. This form has 
lately been named on the high authority of Mr. Sclater 
as a distinct species, viz. Pavo nigripennis, which he be- 
lieves will hereafter be found wild in some country, but 
not in India, where it is certainly unknown. These ja- 
panned birds differ conspicuously from the common pea- 
cock in the colour of their secondary wing-feathers, sca- 
pulars, wing-coverts, and thighs ; the females are much 
paler, and the young, as I hear from Mr. Bartlett, like- 
Avise differ. They can be propagated perfectly true. 
Although they do not resemble the hybrids which have 
been raised between P. cristatus and muticus, neverthe- 
less 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 

83 Mr. Sclater on the black-shouldered peacock of Latham, ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 
April 24th, 1860. 

Chap. VIII. PEACOCK. 351 

On the other hand, Sir R. Heron states' 4 that this 
breed suddenly appeared within his memory in Lord 
Brownlow's large stock of pied, white, and common pea- 
cocks. The same thing occurred in Sir J. Trevelyan's 
flock composed entirely of the common kind, and in Mr. 
Thornton's stock of common and pied peacocks. It is 
remarkable that in these two latter instances the black- 
shouldered kind increased, u to the extinction of the pre- 
viously 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 pea- 
cocks 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 suddenly appearing in flocks of the com- 
mon 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 japan- 
ned 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 com- 
pletely reacquired throtigh reversion the characters of P. 
nigripennis. I have heard of no other such case in the 
animal or vegetable kingdom. To perceive the full im- 
probability of such an occurrence, we may suppose that a 
breed of dogs had been crossed at some former period 
with a wolf, but had lost every trace of the wolf-like 
character, yet that the breed gave birth in five instances 
in the same country, within no great length of time, to a 

34 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' April 14th, 1S35. 

352 TUEKEY. Chap. VIII. 

wolf perfect in every character ; and we must further sup- 
pose 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. nigripennis, when first im- 
ported, would have realized a large price ; it is therefore 
improbable that it should have been silently introduced 
and its history subsequently lost. On the whole the evi- 
dence seems to me, as it did to Sir R. Heron, to prepon- 
derate strongly in favour of the black-shouldered breed 
being a variation, induced either by the climate of Eng- 
land, or by some unknown cause, such as reversion to a 
primordial and extinct condition of the species. On the 
view that the black-shouldered 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 experi- 
enced of living ornithologists. 

The Turkey. 

It seems fairly Avell established by Mr. Gould, 36 that the 
turkey, in accordance with the history of its first intro- 
duction, is descended from a wild Mexican species (Jle- 
leagris Mexicand) which had been already domesticated 
by the natives before the discovery of America, and 
which diners specifically, as it is generally thought, from 
the common wild species of the tTnited States. Some 
naturalists, however, think that these two forms should 
be ranked only as well-marked geographical races. How- 
ever this may be, the case deserves notice because in the 

35 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' April Sth, in these large and luxuriant 

1S56, p. 61. Prof. Baird believes (as appears (as we shall presently see) that 

quoted in Tegetmeier's ' Poultry Book,' the turkey degenerates in India, and this 

1866, p. 209) that our turkeys are de- fact indicates that it was not aboriginally 

scended from a West Indian species now an inhabitant of the lowlands of the 

extinct. But besides the improbability tropics, 
of a bird having long ago become extinct 

Chap. VIII. TURKEY. 353 

United States wild male turkeys sometimes court the 
domestic hens, which are descended from the Mexican 
form, " and are generally received hy them with great 
pleasure."" Several accounts have likewise heen pub- 
lished of young birds, reared in the United States from 
the eggs of the wild species, crossing and commingling 
with the common breed. In England, also, this same 
species has been kept in several parks ; from two of which 
the Rev. W. D. Fox procured birds, and they crossed 
freely with the common domestic kind, and during many 
years afterwards, as he informs me, the turkeys in his 
neighbourhood clearly showed traces of their crossed 
parentage. We here have an instance of a domestic race 
being modified by a cross with a distinct 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 
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, 
Suffblks, Whites, and Copper-coloured (or Cambridge), 
all of which, if precluded from crossing with other breeds, 
propagate their kind truly. Of these kinds, the most 
distinct is the small, hardy, dull-black Norfolk turkey, of 
which the chickens are black, 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 

38 Audubon's ' Ornithological Bio- rica,' 1S02, Eng. translat., p. 21T. 

graph.,' vol. i., 1S31, pp. 4-13; and 38 ' Ornamental Poultry,' by the Rev. 

' Naturalist's Library,' vol. xiv., Birds, E. S. Dixon, 1S48, p. 34. 

p. 13$. 39 Rev. E. S. Dixon, id., p. 35. 

* T F. Michaux, ' Travels in N. Ame- 

354 TUEKEY. Chap. vm. 

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 topknot. Mr. 
Wilmot has described 41 a 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 
imported from the United States, have been kept in the 
parks of Lords Powis, Leicester, Hill, and Derby. The 
Rev. W. D. Fox procured birds from the two first-named 
parks, and he informs me that they certainly differed a 
little from each other in the shape of their bodies and in 
the barred plumage on their wings. These birds likewise 
differed from Lord Hill's stock. Some of the latter kept 
at Oulton by. Sir P. Egerton, though precluded from 
crossing with common turkeys, occasionally produced 
much paler-coloured birds, and one that was almost 
white, but not an albino. These half- wild turkeys in thus 
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 re- 
sulted from the prevention of free intercrossing between 
birds ranging over a wide area, and from the changed 
conditions to which they have been exposed in England. 

*° Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutschlands,' B. iii., 1793, s. 809. 
« ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S52, p. 699. 


In India the climate lias 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 

The Guinea Fowl. 

Tiie domesticated guinea-fowl is now believed by natural- 
ists to be descended from the Nitmicla ptilorhynca, which 
inhabits very hot, and, in parts, extremely arid districts 
in Eastern Africa; consequently it has been exposed in 
this country to extremely different conditions of life. 
Nevertheless it has hardly varied at all, except in the 
plumage being either paler or darker-coloured. It is a 
singular fact that this bird varies more in colour in the 
West Indies and on the Spanish Main, under a hot though 
humid climate, than in Europe. 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. 

The Canary Bird. 

As this bird has been recently domesticated, namely, 
within the last 350 years, its variability deserves no- 
tice. It has been crossed with nine or ten other species 
of Fringillidae, and some of the hybrids are almost com- 

42 E. Blyth, in ' Annals and Mag. of ed varieties imported from Barbadoes 
Nat. Hist.,' 15-47, vol. xx. p. 391. and Demerara. 

43 Roulin makes this remark in ' Mem. 44 For St. Domingo, nee M. A. Salle, in 
de divers Savans, l'Acad. des Sciences,' 'Proc. Soc. Zoolog.,' 1S57, p. 206. Mr. 
torn, vi., 1S35, p. 349. Mr. Hill, of Hill remarks to me, in his letter, on the 
Spanish Town, in a letter tome, describes colour of the legs of the feral birds in 
five varieties of the guinea-fowl in Ja- Jamaica. 

ruaica. I have seen singular pale-colour- * 

356 CANARY BIRD. C^r. vitt 

pletely fertile ; but we have no evidence that any distinct 
breed has originated from such crosses. Notwithstand- 
ing the modern domestication of the canary, many varie- 
ties 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 me- 
thodical selection has been practised during a consi- 
derable period. The greater number of the varieties 
differ only in colour and in the markings of their plu- 
mage. 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 measured 
one of the latter and found it eight inches in length, 
whilst the wild canary is only five and a quarter inches 
long. There are 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 ap- 
pear as if the topknot were due to some morbid con- 
dition 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 moult- 
ed, the peculiarity ceases." 48 Canaries differ much in dis- 
position 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, 47 Bechstein, ' Naturgescb. der Stu- 

British Finches,' <fcc, pp. 21, 30. benvogel,' 1S40, s. 243; see s. 252, on 

48 ' Cottage Gai'dener,' Dec. 11th, 1S55, the inherited song of Canary-birds, 

p. 1S4. An account is here given of all With respect to their baldness, see also 

the varieties. For many measurements W. Kidd's ' Treatise on Song-Birds.' 

of the wild birds, see Mr. E. Vernon Har- 48 W. Kidd's ' Treatise on Song-Birds.' 

court, id., Dec. 25th, 1S55, p. 223.* p. 18. 




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 formed when selection is 
applied, it is necessary to say a few words on gold-fish, 
bees, and silk-moths. 

Gold-fish (Cyprinus auratus) were introduced into 
Europe only two or three centuries ago ; but it is be- 
lieved that they have been kept in confinement from an 
ancient period in China. Mr. Blyth 49 suspects from the 
analogous variation of other fishes that golden-coloured 
fish do not occur in a state of nature. These fishes fre- 
quently live under the most unnatural conditions, and 
their variability in colour, size, and in some important 
points of structure is very great. M. Sauvigny has de- 
scribed 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 monstrosi- 
ties ; 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," " 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 R. Heron 62 kept many of these fishes, 
and placed all the deformed fishes, namely, those desti- 
tute of dorsal fins, and those furnished with a double 
anal fin, or triple tail, in a pond by themselves ; but 

«» The 'Indian Field,' 1853, p. 255. 1S5S, p. 255. 

60 Yarrell's 'British Fishes,' vol. i. p. » 2 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' May 25th, 

819. 1S42. 
41 Mr. Blyth, in the 'Indian Field,' 

358 HIVE-BEES. Chap. VIII. 

they did " not produce a greater proportion of deform- 
ed offspring than the perfect fishes." 

Passing over an almost infinite diversity of colour, we 
meet with the most extraordinary modifications of struc- 
ture. Thus, out of about two dozen specimens bought 
in London, Mr. Yarrell observed some with the dorsal 
fin extending along more than half the length of the 
back; others with this fin reduced to only five or six 
rays ; and one with no dorsal fin. The anal fins are 
sometimes double, and the tail is often triple. This lat- 
ter deviation of structure seems generally to occur " at 
the expense of the whole or part of some other fin ;" B3 
but Bory de Saint Vincent 54 saw at Madrid gold-fish 
furnished with a dorsal fin and a triple tail. One va- 
riety is characterized by a hump on its back near the 
head; and the Rev. L. Jenyns 56 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 

63 Yarrell's 'British Fishes,' vol. i. p. p. 211. Dr. Gray has described, in ' An- 

319. rials and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 1860, p. 

6 * ' Diet. Class. d'Hist. Nat.,' torn. v. 151, a nearly similar variety, but desti- 

p. 276. tute of a dorsal fin. 

66 ' Observations in Nat. Hist.,' 1846, 

Chap. VIII. IIIVE-BEES. 359 

whatever direct effect it is capable of producing. It is 
frequently asserted that the bees in different parts of 
Great Britain differ in size, colour, and temper; and 
Godron 6S says that they are generally larger in the south 
than in other parts of France ; it has also been asserted 
that the little brown bees of High Burgundy, when 
transported to La Bresse, become large and yellow in 
the second generation. But these statements require 
confirmation. As far as size is concerned, it is known 
that bees produced in very old combs are smaller, owing 
to the cells having become smaller from the successive 
old cocoons. The best authorities " concur that, with 
the exception of the Ligurian race or species, presently 
to be mentioned, distinct breeds do not exist in Britain 
or on the Continent. There is, however, even in the 
same stock, some variability in colour. Thus Mr. Wood- 
bury states 68 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 69 
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 swarm- 
ing and honey-gathering bees, this is a habit which has 

68 ' De l'Espece,' 1S59, p. 459. With plicitly trusted; see 'Journal of Horti- 

respect to the bees of Burgundy, see M. culture,' July 14th, 1863, p. 39. 

Gerard, art. ' Espece,' in 'Diet. Univers. 69 'Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 9th, 

d'Hist. Xat.' 1S62, p. 463; see also Herr Kleine on 

87 See a discussion on this subject, in same subject (Nov. 11th, p. 643), who 

answer to a question of mine, in 'Journal sums up, that, though there is some 

of Horticulture,' 1S62, pp. 225-242 ; also variability in colour, no constant or per- 

Mr. Bevan Fox, in ditto, 1862, p. 284. ceptible differences can be detected in 

68 This excellent observer may be im- the bees of Germany. 

360 HIVE-BEES. Chap. VIII. 

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, where they have long been naturalised, 
and, on carefully comparing them under the microscope 
with my own bees, I could detect not a trace of dif- 

This remarkable uniformity in the hive-bee, wherever 
kept, may probably be accounted for by the great diffi- 
culty, or rather impossibility, of bringing selection into 
play by pairing particular queens and drones, for these 
insects unite only during flight. Nor is there any record, 
with a single partial exception, of any person having 
separated and bred from a hive in which the workers 
presented some appreciable difference. In order to form 
a new breed, seclusion from other bees would, as we now 
know, be indispensable ; for since the introduction of the 
Ligurian bee into Germany and England, it has been 
found that the drones wander at least two miles from 
their own hives, and often cross with the queens of the 
common bee. 00 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 

80 Mr. Woodbury has published seve- el ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist,' 

ral such accounts in ' Journal of Horti- 8rd series, vol. xi. p. 389. 
culture,' 1861 and 1862. 

Chap. VIII. SILK-MOTHS. 361 

not by other highly competent judges, as geographical 
races; and he grounds his conclusion in chief part ou 
the fact that in certain districts, as in the Crimea and 
Rhodes, the hive-bee varies so much in colour, that the 
several geographical races can be closely connected by 
intermediate forms. 

I have alluded to a single instance of the separation 
and preservation of a particular stock of bees. Mr. Lowe 63 
procured some bees from a cottager a few miles from 
Edinburgh, and perceived that they differed from the com- 
mon bee in the hairs on the head and thorax being light- 
er coloured and more profuse in quantity. From the date 
of the introduction of the Ligurianbee into Gfreat 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 selec- 
tion applied exclusively to the workers, for, as we have 
seen, queens and drones cannot be selected and paired. 


These insects are in several respects interesting to us, 
more especially because they have varied largely at 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 struc- 
ture 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 

« ' The Cottage Gardener,' May, I860, p. 110 ; and ditto in ' Journal of Hort..' 1S62, 
P. 242. 



most other domestic animals, tlie 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 spe- 
cies 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 opi- 
nion of several capable judges who have particularly at- 
tended to the cultivation of this insect in France ; and 
hardly accords with some facts presently to be given. 

The common silk-moth {Bombyx mori) was brought 
to Constantinople in the sixth century, whence it was 
carried into Italy, and in 1494 into France. 64 Everything 
has been favourable for the variation df this insect. It 
is believed to have been domesticated in China as long 
ago as 2700 b.c. It has been kept under unnatural and 
diversified conditions of life, and has been transported 
into many countries. There is reason to believe that the 
nature of the food given to the caterpillar influences to a 
certain extent the character of the breed. 66 Disuse has 
apparently aided in checking the development of the 
wings. But the most important element in the produc- 
tion of the many now existing, much modified races, no 
doubt has been the close attention which has lonsc been 
applied in many countries to every promising variation. 
The care taken in Europe in the selection of the best co- 
coons and moths for breeding is notorious, 68 and the pro- 

63 'Transact. Entomolog. Soc.,' 3rd se- General nearsey, and others, at the 

ries, vol. iii. pp. 143-173, and pp. 295-331. meeting of the Entomolog. Soc. of Lon- 

6 « Godron, ' De 1' Espece,' 1S59, torn. i. don, July, 1861. 

p. 460. The antiquity of the silk-worm 6G See, for instance, M. A. de Quatre- 

In Cliina is given on the authority of fage's ' Etudes sur les Maladies actuelles 

Stanislas Julien, du Ver & Soie,' 1859, p. 101. 

•• See the remarks of Prof. Westwood, 


duction 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 care- 
ful in the process of selection. In China the production 
of eggs is confined to certain favourable districts, and the 
raisers are precluded by law from producing silk, so that 
their whole attention may be necessarily given up to this 
one object." 

The following details on the differences between the several 
breeds are taken, when not stated to the contrary, from M. Robinet's 
excellent work, 63 which bears every sign of care and large ex- 
perience. The eggs in the different races vary in colour, in shape 
(being round, elliptic, or oval), and in size. The eggs laid in June 
in the south of France, and in July in the central provinces, do not 
hatch until the following spring ; and it is in vain, says M. Robinet, 
to expose them to a temperature gradually raised, in order that the 
caterpillar may be quickly developed. Yet occasionally, without 
any known cause, batches of eggs are produced, which immediately 
begin to undergo the proper changes, and are hatched in from 
twenty to thirty days. From these and some other analogous facts 
it may be concluded that the Trevoltini silkworms of Italy, of 
which the caterpillars are hatched in from fifteen to twenty days, 
do not necessarily form, as has been maintained, a distinct species. 
Although the breeds which live in temperate countries produce 
eggs which cannot be immediately hatched by artificial heat, yet 
when they are removed to and reared in a hot country they gra- 
dually acquire the character of quick development, as in the Trevol- 
tini races. 69 

Caterpillars. — These vary greatly in size and colour. The skin is 
generally white, sometimes mottled with black or grey, and occasion- 
ally quite black. The colour, however, as M. Robinet asserts, is 
not constant, even in perfectly pure breeds ; except in the race 
tigree, so called from being marked with transverse black stripes. 

87 My authorities for these statements which were even worse in this respect. 

will be given in the chapter on Selection. Some were hatched in ten days, and 

• 8 ' Manuel de l'Educateur de Vers a others not until after the lapse of many 

Sole,' 1848. months. No doubt a regular early cha- 

•' Robinet, idem, pp. 12, 318. I may racter would ultimately have been ac- 

add that the eggs of N. American silk- quired. See review in ' Athenaeum,' 

worms taken to the Sandwich Islands 1S44, p. 829, of J. Jarves' ' Scenes in the 

were very irregularly developed ; and Sandwich Islands.' 
the moths thus raised produced eggs 

364 SILK-MOTHS. Chap. VIII. 

As the general colour of the caterpillar is not correlated with that 
of the silk, 70 this character is disregarded by cultivators, and has 
not been fixed by selection. Captain Hutton, in the paper before 
referred to, has argued with much force that the dark tiger- 
like marks, which so frequently appear during the later moults in 
the caterpillars of various breeds, are due to reversion ; for the 
caterpillars of several allied wild species of Bombyx are marked 
and coloured in this manner. He separated some caterpillars with 
the tiger-like marks, and in the succeeding spring (pp. 149, 298) 
nearly all the caterpillars reared from them were dark-brindled, and 
the tints became still darker in the third generation. The moths 
reared from these caterpillars 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 silk- 
worms on a large scale, and she informed me that some of her 
caterpillars had dai'k eyebrows. This is probably the first step in 
reversion towards the tiger-like marks, and I was curious to know 
whether so trifling a character would be inherited ; at my request 
she separated in 1848 twenty of these caterpillars, and having kept 
the moths separate, bred from them. Of the many caterpillars thus 
reared, " every one without exception had eyebrows, some darker 
and more decidedly marked than the others, but all had eyebrows 
more or less plainly visible." Black caterpillars occasionally appear 
amongst those of the common kind, but in so variable a manner, 
that according to M. Robinet the same race will one year exclusively 
produce white caterpillars, and the next year many black ones ; 
nevertheless, I have been informed by M. A. Bossi of Geneva, that, 
if these black caterpillars are separately bred from, they reproduce 
the same colour ; but the cocoons and moths reared from them do 
not present any difference. 

The caterpillar in Europe ordinarily moults four times before 
passing into the cocoon stage ; but there are races " a trois mues," 
and the Trevoltini race likewise moults only thrice. It might have 
been thought that so important a physiological difference would 
not have arisen under domestication ; but M. Robinet 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 

70 'The Art of rearing Silk-worms,' 71 ' Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, pp. 

translated from Count Dandolo, 1825, p. ' 153, 808. 
S3. ™ Robinet, Idem, p. 81T. 


mues :i la seconde on si la troisieme annee, ce qui semble prouver 
qu'il a suffi de les placer dans des conditions favorables pour leur 
rendre nne faculte qu'clles 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 differ- 
ent 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 constric- 
tion 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 the silk is not strictly inherited : but in the chapter on 
Selection I shall give a curious account how, in the course of sixty- 
five generations, the number of yellow cocoons in one breed has 
been reduced in France from one hundred to thirty-five in, the 
thousand. According to Robinet, the white race, called Sina, by 
careful selection during the last seventy-five years, " est 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 ; unfortunately 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 re- 
ceived a similar statement from the eminent naturalist M. de Qua- 
trefages. Captain Hutton also says 74 that the moths of all kinds 
vary much in colour, but in nearly the same inconstant manner. 
Considering how much the cocoons in the several races differ, this 
fact is of interest, and may probably be accounted for on the same 
principle as the fluctuating variability of colour in the caterpillar, 
namely, that there has been no motive for selecting and perpetuat- 
ing any particular variation. 

The males of the wild Bonibycidae " fly swiftly in the day-time 
and evening, but the females are usually very sluggish and inac- 
tive." 75 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 perpetu- 

73 Robinet, Idem, pp. 80C-31T. '* Stephens' Illustrations, * Haustel- 

74 ' Transact. Ent. Soc' ut supra, p. lala .' vo1 - "• P- 35 - See also Capt. Hut- 
817. ton, ' Transact. Ent. Soc' idem, p. 152. 

366 SILK-MOTHS. Chap. VIII. 

ated. In the silk-moth both sexes have imperfect, crumpled wings, 
and are incapable of flight ; but still there is a trace of the charac- 
teristic difference in the two sexes ; for though, on comparing a 
number of males and females, I could detect no difference in the de- 
velopment of their wings, yet I was assured by Mrs. Whitby that 
the males of the moths bred by her used their wings more than the 
females, and could flutter downwards, though never upwards. She 
also states that, when the females first emerge from the cocoon, 
their wings are less expanded than those of the male. The degree 
of imperfection, however, in the wings varies much in different 
races and under different circumstances ; M. Quatrefages 76 says that 
he has seen a number of moths with their wings reduced to a third, 
fourth, or tenth part of their normal dimensions, and even to mere 
short straight stumps : " il me semble qu'il y a la un veritable arret 
de developpement partiel." On the other hand, he describes the fe- 
male moths of the Andre Jean breed as having " leurs ailes larges 
et etalees. Un seul presente quelques courbures irregulieres et des 
plis anomaux." As moths and butterflies of all kinds reared from 
wHd caterpillars under confinement often have crippled wings, the 
same cause, whatever it may be, has probably acted on silk-moths, 
but the disuse of their wings fluring 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. Hut- 
ton, 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. Robinet, 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 inca- 
pable 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 co- 
coons differ slightly in tint. The abdominal feet also of the cater- 
pillars which yield white cocoons are always white, whilst those 

t« • Etudes sur les Maladies du Ver a 78 ' Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, p. 

Soie,' 1859, pp. 304, 209. 151. 

77 Quatrefages, 'Etudes,' &c, p. 78 'Manuel de l'Educateur,' &c, p. 26. 

214. 80 Godron, ' De I'Espece,' p. 462. 


which give yellow cocoons are invariably yellow." 1 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 n that in France the caterpillars of the races which pro- 
duce 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 inj lire all the races. 83 

From these various facts we learn that silk-moths, like 
the higher animals, vary greatly under long-continued 
domestication. We learn also the more important fact 
that variations may occur at various periods of life, and 
be inherited at corresponding periods. And finally we 
see that insects are amenable to the great principle of 

81 Quatrefages, ' Etudes,' 4c, pp. 12, « 2 Robinet, ' Manuel,' &c, p. 808. 

209, 214. 83 Robinet, idem, p. 15. 



PRELIMINARY REMARKS on the number and parentage 






CULINARY PLANTS. —cabbages: varieties of, in foliage 





I shall not enter into so much detail on the variability of 
cultivated plants, as in the case of domesticated animals. 
The subject is involved in much difficulty. Botanists 
have generally neglected cultivated varieties, as beneath 
their notice. In several cases the wild prototype is un- 
known or doubtfully known ; and in other cases it is 
hardly possible to distinguish between escaped seedlings 
and truly wild plants, so that there is no safe standard 
of comparison by which to judge of any supposed amount 
of change. Not a few botanists believe that several of 
our anciently cultivated plants have become so profoundly 
modified that it is not possible now to recognise their 
aboriginal parent-forms. Equally perplexing are the 


doubts whether some of them are descended from one 
species, or from several inextricably commingled by- 
crossing and variation. Variations often pass into, and 
cannot be distinguished from, monstrosities ; and mon- 
strosities are of little significance for our purpose. Many 
varieties are propagated solely by grafts, buds, layers, 
bulbs, &c, and frequently it is not known how far 
their peculiarities can be transmitted by seminal genera- 
tion. Nevertheless some facts of value can be gleaned ; 
and other facts will hereafter be incidentally given. One 
chief object in the two following chapters is to show how 
generally almost every character in our cultivated plants 
has become variable. 

Before entering on details a few general remarks on 
the origin of cultivated plants may be introduced. M. 
Alph. de Candolle 1 in an admirable discussion on this 
subject, in which he displays a wonderful amount of 
knowledge, gives a list of 157 of the most useful cultivat- 
ed plants. Of these he believes that 85 are almost cer- 
tainly known in their wild state ; but on this head other 
competent judges 2 entertain great doubts. Of 40 of them, 
the origin is admitted by M. De Candolle to be doubtful, 
either from a certain amount of dissimilarity which they 
present when compared with their nearest allies in a wild 
state, or from the probability of the latter not being truly 
wild plants, but seedlings escaped from culture. Of 
the entire 157, 32 alone are ranked by M. De Candolle 
as quite unknown in their aboriginal condition. But it 
should be observed that he does not include in his ljst 
several plants which present ill-defined characters, namely, 
the various forms of pumpkins, miltet, sorghum, kidney- 
bean, dolichos, capsicum, and indigo. Nor does he in- 
clude flowers ; and several of the more anciently culti- 

1 ' G^ographie Botanique Raisonnee,' ' Historical Notes on Cultivated Plants,* 
1855, pp. 810 to 991. by Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti. See also 

* Review by Mr. Bentham in ' Hort. ' Edinburgh Review,' 1866, p. 510. 
Journal,' vol. ix. 1855, p. 133, entitled 


vated flowers, such as certain roses, the common Imperial 
lily, the tuberose, and even the lilac, are said 3 not to be 
known in the wild state. 

From the relative numbers above given, and from other 
arguments of much weight, M. De Candolle concludes 
that plants have rarely been so much modified by culture 
that they cannot be identified with their wild prototypes. 
But on this view, considering that savages probably 
would not have chosen rare plants for cultivation, that 
useful plants are generally conspicuous, and that they 
could not have been the inhabitants of deserts or of re- 
mote 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 extermination during the progress of civilisation 
would likewise 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 coun- 
tries, 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 

3 ' Hist. Notes,' as above, by Targioni- p. 930. " Plus on suppose l'agriculture 

Tozzetti. ancienne et remontant a une cpoque 

* ' Considerations sur les Cereales,' d'ignorance, plus il est probable que les 

1842, p. ST. ' Geographle Bot.,' 1865, cultivateurs avaient choisi des especes 


remarked that our cttltirated plants, more especially the 
cereals, must originally have existed in nearly then- 
present state ; for otherwise they would not have been 
noticed and valued as objects of food. But these au- 
thors apparently have not considered the many accounts 
given by travellers of the wretched food collected by 
savages. I have read an account of the savages of Aus- 
tralia cooking, during a dearth, many vegetables in va- 
rious ways, in the hopes of rendering them innocuous 
and more nutritious. Dr. Hooker found the half-starved 
inhabitants of a village in Sikhim suffering greatly from 
having eaten arum-roots, 6 which they had pounded and 
left for several days to ferment, so as partially to destroy 
their poisonous nature ; and he adds that they cooked 
and ate many other deleterious plants. Sir Andrew 
Smith informs me that in South Africa a large number 
of fruits and succulent leaves, and especially roots, are 
used in times of scarcity. The natives, indeed, know 
the properties of a long catalogue of plants, some having 
been found during famines to be eatable, others injurious 
to health, or even destructive to life. He met a party of 
Baquanas who, having been expelled by the conquering 
Zulus, had lived for years on any root's or leaves which 
afforded some little nutriment, and distended their stom- 
achs, so as to relieve the pangs of hunger. They looked 
like walking skeletons, and suffered fearfully from con- 
stipation. Sir Andrew Smith also informs me that on 
such occasions the natives observe as a guide for them- 
selves, 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 nuti-itious, stimulating, 
and medicinal properties of the most unpromising plants 

offrant ;'i l'origine meme un avantage in- formation. See, also, bis ' Himalayan 
contestable." Journals,' 1S54, vol. ii. p. 49. 

6 Dr. Hooker has given me this in- 


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, an*d the berries of the coffee, all 
included a stimulating and nutritious essence, now known 
to be chemically the same. We can also see that sav- 
ages suffering from severe constipation would naturally 
observe whether any of the roots which they devoured 
acted as aperients. We probably owe our knowledge 
of the uses of almost all plants to man having originally 
existed in a barbarous state, and having been often com- 
pelled by severe want to try as food almost everything 
which he could chew and swallow. 

From what we know of the habits of savages in many 
quarters of the world, there is no reason to suppose that 
our cereal plants originally existed in their present state 
so valuable to man. Let us look to one continent alone, 
namely, Africa: Earth* states that the slaves over a 
large part of the central region regularly collect the 
seeds of a wild grass, the JPennisetiwi distichum ; in 
another district he saw women collecting the seeds of a 
Poa by swinging a sort of basket through the rich mea- 
dow-land. Near Tete Livingstone observed the natives 
collecting the seeds of a wild grass ; and farther south, as 
Andersson informs me, the natives largely use the 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 

6 ' Travels in Central Africa,' Eng. Mr. Edgewovth (' Journal Proc. Linn. 
translat., vol. i. pp. 529 and 390; vol. ii. Soc.,' vol. vi. Bot., 1862, p. 181) states 
pp. 29, 265, 270. Livingstone's ' Tra- that in the deserts of the Punjab poor 
vels,' p. 551. women sweep up, " by a whisk into straw 

7 Ae in both North and South America. baskets," the seeds of four genera of 


Accustomed as we arc 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 inhabitants of Switzer- 
land during the Stone-period largely collected wild crabs, 
sloes, bullaces, hips of roses, elderbeiTies, 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 fore- 
thought, would be to sow the seeds of useful plants ; and 
as the soil near the hovels of the natives 10 would often be 
in some degree manured, improved varieties would sooner 
or later arise. Or a wild and unusually good variety of 
a native plant might attract the attention of some wise 

grasses, namely, of Agrostis, Panicum, ° ' Travels,' p. 535. Du Chaillu, ' Ad- 

Cenchrus, and Pennisetum, as well as ventures in Equatorial Africa,' 1S61, p. 

the seeds of four other genera belonging 445. 

to distinct families. 10 In Tierra del Fuego the spot where 

8 Prof. 0. Heer, ' Die Pflanzen der wigwams had formerly stood could be dis- 

Pfahlbauten, 1865, aus dem Neujahr. tinguished at a great distance by the 

Naturforsc. Gesellschaft,' 18G6 ; and Dr. bright green tint of the native vegeta- 

H. Christ, in Rutimeyer's ' Die Fauna tion. 
der Pfahlbauten,' 18CI , 9. 226. 


old savage ; and he would transplant it, or sow its seed. 
That superior varieties of wild fruit-trees occasionally are 
found is certain, as in the case of the American species of 
hawthorns, plums, cherries, grapes, and hickories, specified 
by Professor Asa Gray. 11 Downing also refers to certain 
wild varieties of the hickory, as being " of much larger 
size and finer flavour than the common species." I have 
referred to American fruit-trees, because we are not 
in this case troubled with doubts whether or not the 
varieties are seedlings which have escaped from cultiva- 
tion. Transplanting any superior variety, or sowing its 
seeds, hardly implies more forethought than might be 
expected at an early and rude period of civilisation. 
Even the Australian barbarians " have a law that no plant 
bearing seeds is to be dug up after it has flowered ;" and 
Sir G. Grey 12 never saw this law, evidently framed for 
the preservation of the plant, violated. We see the same 
spirit in the superstitious belief of the Fuegians, that kill- 
ing water-fowl whilst very young will be followed by 
" much rain, snow, blow much." 13 I may add, as show- 
ing 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 

It has often been remarked 14 that we do not owe a 
single useful plant to Australia or the Cape of Good 
Hope, — countries abounding to an unparalleled degree 
with endemic species, — or to New Zealand, or to America 
south of the Plata ; and, according to some authors, not 
to America northwai'd of Mexico. I do not believe that 
any edible or valuable plant, except the canary-grass, has 

11 ' American Acad, of Arts and Scien- 13 Darwin's 'Journal of Researches,* 
ces,' April 10th, 1860, p. 413. Downing, 1845, p. 215. 

4 The Fruits of America, 1 1845, p. 261. " De Candolle has tabulated the facts 

12 'Journals of Expeditions in Aus- in the most interesting manner in his 
tralia,' 1S41, vol. ii. p. 292. * Geographic Bot.,' p. 986. 


been derived from an oceanic or uninhabited island. If 
nearly all our useful plants, natives of Europe, Asia, and 
South America, had originally existed in their present 
condition, the, complete absence of similarly useful plants 
in the great countries just named Avould indeed be a sur- 
prising fact. But if these plants have been so greatly 
modified and improved by culture as no longer closely to 
resemble any natural species, we can understand why the 
above-named countries have given us no useful plants, for 
they were either inhabited by men who did not cultivate 
the ground at all, as in Australia and the Cape of Good 
Hope, or who cultivated it very imperfectly, as in some 
parts of America. These countries do yield plants which 
are useful to savage man ; and Dr. Hooker 15 enumerates 
no less than 107 such species in Australia alone ; but 
these plants have not been improved, and consequently 
cannot compete with those which have been cultivated 
and improved during thousands of years in the civilised 

The case of New Zealand, to which fine island Ave as 
yet owe no widely cultivated plant, may seem opposed to 
this view ; for, when first discovered, the natives cultiva- 
ted several plants; but all inquirers believe, in accord- 
ance 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 fre- 
quently 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 colo- 
nists, would not have had any strong inducement to cul- 
tivate the aboriginal plants. According to De Candolle 
we owe thirty-three useful plants to Mexico, Peru, and 
Chile ; nor is this surprising when we remember the civil- 
ized state of the inhabitants, as shown by the fact of their 

15 ' Flora of Australia,' Introduction p. ex. 


having practised artificial irrigation and made tunnels 
through hard rocks without the use of iron or gunpow- 
der, and who, as we shall see in a future chapter, fully 
recognised, as far as animals were concerned, and there- 
fore probably in the case of plants, the important princi- 
ple of selection. We owe some plants to Brazil ; and the 
early voyagers, namely Vespucius and Cabral, describe 
the country as thickly peopled and cultivated. In North 
America 16 the natives cultivated maize, pumpkins, gourds, 
beans, and peas, " all different from ours," and tobacco : 
and we are hardly justified in assuming that none of our 
present plants are descended from these North American 
forms. Had North America been 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 

Ccrealia.—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 

16 For Canada, see 3. Cartier's Voyage 17 See, for example, Mr. Ilewett C 

in 1534; for Florida, see Narvaez and Watson's remarks on our wild plums and 

Ferdinand de Soto's Voyages. As I have cherries and crabs : ' Cybele liritannica,' 

consulted these and other old Voyages vol. i. pp. 330, 334, &c. Van Mons (in 

in more than one general collection of his 'Arbres Fruitiers,' 1S35, torn. i. p. 444) 

Voyages, I do not give precise references declares that he has found the types of 

to the pages. See also, for several refer- all our cultivated varieties in wild seed- 

ehces, Asa Gray, in the 'American Jour- lings, but then he looks on these seed- 

nal of Science,' vol. xxiv., Nov. 1S57, p. lings as so many aboriginal stocks. 

441. For the traditions of the natives of 18 See A. De Candolle, ' Gcograph. 

New Zealand, see Crawfurd's 'Grammar Bot.,' 1855, p. 928 et seq. Godron, 'De 

and Diet, of the Malay Language,' 1S52, l'Espece,' 1359, torn. ii. p. 70 ; and Metz- 

p. eclx. ger, ' Die Getreidearten,' 4c, 1841. 

Chap. IX. WHEAT. 377 

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 liDo, 10 " We ourselves have no hesitation in stating our convic- 
tion, 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 ( Tri- 
ticum vulgare) has been found wild in various parts of Asia, where 
it is not likely to have escaped from cultivation ; and there is 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 cha- 
racter. M. de Candolle insists strongly on the frequent occurrence 
in the Austrian dominions of rye and of one kind of oats in an ap- 
parently wild condition. With the exception of these two cases, 
which however are rather doubtful, and with the exception of two 
forms of wheat and one of barley, which he believes to have been 
found truly wild, M. de Candolle does not seem fully satisfied with 
the other reported discoveries of the parent-forms of our other ce- 
reals. With respect to oats, according to Mr. Buckman, 22 the wild 
English Arena fatua can be converted by a few years of careful cul- 
tivation and selection into forms almost identical with two very dis- 
tinct 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 


19 Mr. Bentham, in bis review, entitled but M. Godron (torn. i. p. 165) has shown 

' Ilist. Notes on cultivated Plants,' by by careful experiments that the first step 

Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, in 'Journal of in the series, viz. JEgilops triticoides, 

Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. (1S55), p. 133. is a hybrid between wheat and JE. ovata. 

-° ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 92S. The whole The frequency .with which these hybrids 

subject is discussed with admirable full- spontaneously arise, and the gradual 

ness and knowledge. manner in which the.^. triticoides, be- 

21 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. il. p. 72. comes converted into true wheat, alone 

A few years ago the excellent, though leave any doubt on the subject, 
misinterpreted, observations of If. Fabre M Report to British Association for 

led many persons to believe that wheat 185T, p. 207. 
was a modified descendant of iEgilops ; 


the more distant parts of the world ; for Loiseleur-Deslongchamps " 3 
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 im- 
portant 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 specifi- 
cally 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 2e differ in colour and in shape, being quadrangu- 
lar, 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 Graminese serves even as a generic cha- 
racter ; " although, as remarked by Godron, 28 the presence of barbs 
is variable in certain wild grasses, and especially in those, such as 
Bromus secalimis and Lolium temulentum, which habitually grow 
mingled with our cereal crops, and which have thus unintentionally 
been exposed to culture. The grains differ in size, weight, and col- 
our ; 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 text are, 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 re- 
marked, 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 constitution, and a consequent tendency 
to vary in the same manner ; and those who believe in the general 
theory of descent with modification may extend this view to the 
several species of wheat, if such ever existed in a state of nature. 

23 ' Considerations sur les Cereales,' 26 Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Consid. 
1S42-43, p. 29. sur les Cereales.' p. 11. 

24 ' Travels in the Himalayan Pro- 27 See an excellent review in Hooker's 
vinces,' Ac, 1S41, vol. i. p. 224. ' Journ. of Botany,' vol. viii. p. 82, note. 

85 Col. J. Le Couteur on the ' Varieties 28 ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 73. 

of Wheat,' pp. 23, 79. 29 Idem. torn. ii. p. 75. 


wheat. 379 

Although few of the varieties of wheat present any conspicuous 
difference, their number is great, Dalbret cultivated during thirty 
years from 150 to 160 kinds, and excepting in the quality of the 
grain they all kept true : Colonel Le Couteur possessed upwards of 
150, and Philippar 322 varieties. 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 trans- 
mitted 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 hia 
neighbours, Professor La Gasca found twenty-three sorts ; and Pro- 
fessor Henslow has observed similar facts. Besides such individual 
variations, forms sufficiently well marked to be valued and to become 
widely cultivated sometimes suddenly appear : thus Mr. Sheriff has 
had the good fortune to raise in his lifetime seven new varieties, 
which are now extensively grown in many parts of Britain. 3 - 

As in the case of many other plants, some varieties, both old and 
new, are far more constant in character than others. Colonel Le 
Couteur was forced to reject some of his new sub-varieties, which he 
suspected had been produced from a cross, as incorrigibly sportive. 
With respect to the tendency to vary, Metzger 33 gives from Iris 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 sum- 
mers ; another variety kept true only in good land, but after having 
been cultivated for twenty-five years became more constant. He 
mentions two other sub-varieties which were at first inconstant, but 
subsequently became, apparently without any selection, accustomed 
to their new homes, and retained their proper character. These 
facts show what small changes in the conditions of life cause varia- 

3(1 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 Cereales,' pp. 45, 70. Le Couteur on 3a ' Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. 

Wheat, p. G. Gazette,' 1S62, p. 963. 

31 ' Varieties of Wheat,' Introduction, 33 ' Getreidearten,' 1311, s. 66, 91, 92, 

p. vi. Marshall, in his ' Rural Economy 116, 117. 
of Yorkshire,' vol. ii. p. 9, remarks that 


bility, and they further show that a variety may become habituated 
to new conditions. One is at first inclined to conclude with Loise- 
leur-Deslongchamps, that wheat cultivated in the same country is 
exposed to remarkably uniform conditions ; but manures differ, seed 
is taken from one soil to another, and what is far more important 
the plants are exposed as little as possible to struggle with other 
plants, and are thus enabled to exist under diversified conditions. 
In a state of nature each plant is confined to that particular station 
and kind of nutriment which it can seize from the other plants by 
which it is surrounded. 

Wheat quickly assumes new habits of life. The summer and 
winter kinds were classed by Linnaeus as distinct species ; but M. 
Monnier 34 has proved that the difference between them is only tem- 
porary. 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 con- 
verted 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 Kalm, 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 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 cli- 
mate : Loiseleur-Deslongchamps 37 sowed near Paris 54 varieties, 
obtained from the South of France and from the Black Sea, and 52 
of these yielded seed from 10 to 40 per cent, heavier than the parent- 
seed. He then sent these heavier grains back to the South of 
France, but there they immediately yielded lighter seed. 

All those who have closely attended to the subject insist on the 
close adaptation of numerous varieties of wheat to various soils and 
climates even within the same country ; thus Colonel Le Couteur 38 

34 Quoted by Godron, ' De l'Espece,' Many others accounts could be added, 

vol. ii. p. 74. So it is, according to 36 'Travels in North America,' 1753- 

Metzger (' Getreidearten,' s. IS), with 1761, Eng. translat., vol. iii. p. 165. 

summer and winter barley. 37 ' Cereales,' part. ii. pp. 17SM8'5. 

30 Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Cere- 38 ' On the Varieties of Wheat,' Intro- 
ales,' part ii, p. 224. Le Couteur, p. 70. duct., p. vii. See Marshall, 'Rural 

Chap. IX. WHEAT. 381 

Bays, " 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 bo in part due to each kind becoming habi- 
tuated to its conditions of life, as Metzger has shown certainly oc- 
curs, but it is probably, in main part due to innate differences be- 
tween the several varieties. 

Much has been written on the deterioration of wheat ; that the qua- 
lity of the flour, size of grain, 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 an- 
other and distinct sub-variety, there is no reason to believe. What 
apparently does take place, according Le Couteur, 39 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 sup- 
plants the variety which was first sown. 

With respect to the natural crossing of distinct varieties the evi- 
dence is conflicting, but preponderates against its frequent occur- 
ence. 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 varie- 
ties of wheat have arisen ; but their differences are unim- 
portant, unless, indeed, some of the so-called species are 
ranked as varieties. Those who believe that from four to 
seven wild species of Triticum originally existed in nearly 
the same condition as at present, rest their belief chiefly 
on the great antiquity of the several forms.' 10 It is an 
important fact, which Ave have recently learnt from the 
admirable researches of Heer, 41 that the inhabitants of 
Switzerland, even so early as the Neolithic pei-iod, culti- 

Econ. of Yorkshire,' vol. ii. p. 9. With cult. Gazette,' 1862, p. 963), says, "I 

respect to similar cases of adaptation in have never seen grain which has either 

tbe varieties of oats, see some interesting been improved or degenerated by cul- 

papers in the ' Gardener's Cliron. and tivation, so as to convey the change to 

Agricult. Ga-zette,' 1S50, pp. 204, 219. the succeeding crop." 

99 ' On the Varieties of Wheat,' p. 59. *° Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. 

Mr. Sheriff, and a higher authority can- Bot.,' p. 930. 
not be given (' Gard. Chron. and Agri- *• ' Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,' 1866. 


vated no less than ten cereal plants, namely, five kinds of 
wheat, of which .at least four are commonly looked at as 
distinct sjiecies, three kinds of barley, a panicum, and a 
setaria. If it could t>e 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 re- 
marked, agriculture even at the period of the lake-habita- 
tions had already made considerable progress ; for, be- 
sides the ten cerejals, 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-inhabi- 
tants either still kept up commercial intercourse with 
some southern people or had originally proceeded as co- 
lonists from the South. 

Loiseleur-Deslongchamps " has argued that, if our ce- 
real 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 principle of selection has been over- 
looked. That such weeds have not varied, or at least do 
not vary now in any extreme degree, is the opinion of 
Mr. H. C. Watson and Professor Asa Gray, as they inform 
me ; but who will pretend to say that they do not vary as 
much as the individual plants of the same sub-variety of 
wheat ? We have already seen that pure varieties of 
wheat, cultivated in the same field, offer many slight va- 
riations, which can be selected and separately propaga- 
ted ; and that occasionally more strongly pronounced va- 
riations appear, which, as Mr. Sheriff has proved, are well 
worthy of extensive cultivation. Not until equal atten- 
tion be paid to the variability and selection of weeds, can 

43 ' Les Cereales,' p. 94. 

Chip. IX. WHEAT. 383 

the argument from their constancy under unintentional 
culture be of any value. In accordance with the princi- 
ples of selection we can understand how it is that in the 
several cultivated varieties of wheat the organs of vege- 
tatiou differ so little ; for if a plant with peculiar leaves 
appeared, it would he neglected unless the grains of corn 
were at the same time superior in quality or size. The 
selection of seed-corn was strongly recommended " in 
ancient times by Columella and Celsus ; and as Virgil 


" I've seen the largest seeds, tho' view'd with care, 
Degenerate, unless th' industrious hand 
Did yearly cull the largest." 

But whether in ancient times selection was methodically 
pursued we may Avell doubt, wdien Ave hear how labori- 
ous the work was found by Le Couteur. Although 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 
supplied to the land will have determined the maximum 
degree of productiveness ; for it would be impossible to 
cultivate a highly productive variety, unless the land con- 
tained a sufficient supply of the necessary chemical ele- 

We now know that man was sufficiently civilized to 
cultivate the ground at an immensely remote period ; so 
that wheat might have been improved long ago up to 
that standard of excellence which was possible under the 
then existing state of agriculture. One small class of 
facts supports this view of the slow and gradual improve- 
ments of our cereals. In the most ancient lake-habita- 

43 Quoted by Le Couteur, p. 16. ** A. De Candolle, ' Geogra ph. Bot.,' p. 

384 CEREAL PLANTS. * Chap. IX. 

tions of Switzerland, when men employed only flint-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 were " smaller, shorter, and nearer to each other, 
than in that now grown; without the husk they were 2$ 
lines long, and scarcely l£ broad, whilst those now grown 
have a length of three lines, and almost the same in 
breadth." 4S 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 appear- 
ance and final disappearance of the several plants which 
were cultivated in greater or Jess abundance in Switzer- 
land during former successive periods, and which gene- 
rally differed more or less from our existing varieties. 
The peculiar small-eared and small-grained wheat, al- 
ready alluded to, was the commonest kind during the 
Stone period ; it lasted down to 'the Helvetico-Roman 
age, and then became extinct. A second kind was rare 
at first, but afterwards became more frequent. A third, 
the Egyptian Avheat (T. tiergidum), does not agree exact- 
ly 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. mono- 
coccwn) is known to have existed during the Stone pe- 

< 5 0. Heer, ' Die Pflanzen der Pfahl- 1861, s. 225. 

bauten,' 1S60. The following passage is is Heer, as quoted by Carl Vogt, ' Lec- 

quoted from Dr. Christ, in ' Die Fauna tures en Man,' Eng. translV.., p. 355. 
der Pfahlbauten von Dr. Rutimeyer,' 

Chap. IX. 

MAIZE. 385 

riod only by the presence of a single ear. A sixth kind, 
the common T. spelia, was not introduced into Switzer- 
land until the Bronze age. Of barley, besides the short- 
eared and small-grained kind, two others were cultiva- 
ted, one of which was very scarce, and resembled our 
present common II. distichum. During the Bronze age 
rye and oats were introduced ; the oat-grains being some- 
what smaller than those produced by our existing varie- 
ties. The poppy was largely cultivated during the Stone 
period, probably for its oil ; but the variety which then 
existed is not now known. A peculiar pea with small 
seeds lasted from the Stone to the Bronze age, and then be- 
came extinct ; whilst a peculiar bean, likewise having 
small seeds, came in at the Bronze period and lasted to 
the time of the Romans. These details sound like the 
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 succes- 
sive stages of a geological formation. 

Finally, every one must judge for himself whether it is 
more probable that the several forms of wheat, barley, 
rye, and oats are descended from between ten and fifteen 
species, most of which are now either unknown or extinct, 
or whether they are descended from between four and 
eight species, which may have either closely resembled 
our present cultivated forms, or have been so widely dif- 
ferent as to escape identification. In this latter case, we 
must conclude that man cultivated the cereals at an 
enormously remote period, and that he formerly practised 
some degree of selection, which in itself is not improbable. 
We may, perhaps, further believe that, when wheat was 
first cultivated, the ears and grains increased quickly i.i 
size, in the same manner as the roots of the wild carrot 
and parsnip are known to increase quickly in bulk under 

Maize: Zea Mays. — Botanists are nearly unanimous that all the 


cultivated kinds belong to the same species. It is undoubtedly 47 of 
American origin, and was grown by the aborigines throughout the 
continent from New England to Chili. Its cultivation must have 
been extremely ancient, for Tschudi' 18 describes two kinds, now ex- 
tinct or not known in Peru, which were taken from tombs apparent- 
ly prior to the dynasty of the Incas. But there is even stronger evi- 
dence of antiquity, for I found on the coast of Peru 43 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 credible that a wild species, when first cultiva- 
ted, 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 described by Bonafous. The whole 
ear is variable in shape, being long and narrow, or short and thick, 
or branched. The ear in one variety is more than four times as 
long as in a dwarf kind. The seeds are arranged in the ear in 
from six to even twenty rows, or are placed irregularly. The seeds 

47 See Alph. De Candolle's long dis- on seeing this kind of maize, told Au- 
cussion in his ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 042. guste St. Hilaire (see De Candolle, 'G6o- 
With respect to New England, see Silli- graph. Bot.,' p. 951) that it grew wild in 
man's 'American Journal,' vol. xliv. p. the humid forests of his native land. Mr. 
99. Teschemacher, in ' Proc. Boston Soc. 

48 'Travels in Peru,' Eng. translat., Nat. Hist ,' Oct. 19th, 1S42, gives an ac- 
p. 177. count of sowing the seed. 

49 ' Geolog. Observ. on S. America,' 51 Moquin-Tandon, ' Elements de Te- 
1846, p. 49. ratologie,' 1841, p. 126. 

60 This maize is figured in Bonafous' 52 'Die Getreirtearten,' 1841, s. 20S. 

magnificent work, 'Hist. Nat. du Mais,' I have modified a few of Metzger's state- 

1S3(J, Pi. v. bis, and in the 'Journal of ments in accordance with those made by 

Hort. Soc.,' vol i., 1S46, p. 115, where Bonafous in his great work, ' Hist. Nat. 

an account is given of the result of sow- du Mai's,' 1S36. 
iug the seed. A young Guarany Indian, 

Chap. IX. MAIZE. 387 

are coloured — white, pale-yellow, orange, red, violet, or elegantly 
streaked with black; 68 and iu the same car 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, heing 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 mats d bouquet. The seeds of 
some varieties contain much glucose instead of starch. Male 
flowers sometimes appear amongst the female flowers, and Mr. J. 
Scott has lately observed the rarer case of female flowers on a true 
male panicle, and likewise hermaphrodite flowers. 54 Azara de- 
scribes M 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. 53 Some of the foregoing differences would certainly be con- 
sidered of specific value with plants in a state of nature. 

Le Comte Re states that the grains of all the varieties which he 
cultivated ultimately assumed a yellow colour. But Bonafous " 
found that most of those which he sowed for ten consecutive years 
kept true to their proper tints ; and he adds that in the valleys of 
the Pyrenees and on the plains of Piedmont a white maize has been 
cultivated for more than a century, and has undergone no change. 

The tall kinds grown in southern latitudes, and therefore exposed 
to great heat, require from six to seven months to ripen their seed ; 
whereas the dwarf kinds, grown in northern and colder climates, 
require only from three to four months. 58 Peter Kalm, 59 who par- 
ticularly attended to this plant says that in the United States, in 
proceeding from south to north, the plants steadily diminish in 
bulk. Seeds brought from lat. 37° in Virginia, and sown in lat. 
43°-44° in New England, produce plants wdiich 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 

53 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. p. 31. 

80; Al. DeCandolle, idem. p. 051. " Idem, p. 31. 

64 ' Transact. Bot. Soc. of Edinburgh,' 68 Metzger, ' Getreidearter.,' s. 206. 

vol. viii. p. 60. 69 ' Description of Maize,' by P. Kalm, 

BS 'Voyages dans rAmerique Muri- 1T52, in ' Swedish Acts,' vol. iv. I 

dionale,' torn. i. p. 147. haTe consulted an old English MS. trans- 

•• Bonafous' ' Hist. Nat. du Mala,' lation. . 


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 
kin J (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 re- 
semblance to the original and very distinct American parent-form 
was lost. In the sixth generation tliis maize perfectly resembled a 
European variety, described as the second sub-variety of the fifth 
race. When Metzger published his book, this variety was still 
cultivated near Heidelberg, and could be distinguished from the 
common kind only by a somewhat more vigorous growth. Analo- 
gous results were obtained by the cultivation of another American 
race, the " white-tooth corn," in which the tooth nearly disappeared 
even in the second generation. A third race, the " chicken-corn," 
did not undergo so great a change, but the seeds became less 
polished and pellucid. 

These facts afford the most remarkable instance 
known to me of the direct and prompt action of climate 

" ' Getreulearten,' s. 20S. 


on a plant. It might have been expected that the tall- 
ncss of the stem, the period of the 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 modifi- 
cation in these latter organs would be apt to extend, 
through correlation, to the organs of fructification. 

Cabbage (Brassiea oleracea). — Every one knows how greatly the 
various kinds of cabbage differ in appearance. In the island of Jer- 
sey, from the effects of particular culture and of climate, a stalk has 
grown to the height of sixteen feet, and " had its spring shoots at 
the top occupied by a magpie's nest :" the woody stems are not 
unfrequently from ten to twelve feet in height, and are there used 
as rafters C1 and as walking-sticks. We are thus reminded that in 
certain countries plants belonging to the generally herbaceous order 
of the Cruciferre 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 ; broeeolis and 
cauliflowers with the greater number of their flowers in an aborted 
condition, incapable of producing seed, and borne in a dense corymb 
instead of an open panicle ; savoys with their blistered and wrinkled 
leaves ; and borecoles and kales, which come nearest to the wild pa- 
rent-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, 
arrangement, and manner of growth of the leaves and stem, and of 

91 'Cabbage Timber,' 'Gardener's hibited in the Museum at Revv. 

Chron.,' 1S58, |>. T44. quoted from Hook- 62 'Journal de la Soc. Imp. d'Hortt- 

er's ' Journal of Botany,' A walking- culture,' 1855, p. 254, quoted from ' Gar- 

stick made from a cabbage-stalk is ex- tenflora,' Ap. 1S55. 


the flower-stems in the broccoli and cauliflower, it is remarkable 
that the flowers themselves, the seed-pods, and seeds, present ex- 
tremely slight differences or none at all. 63 I compared the flowers 
of all the principal kinds ; those of the Couve Trouchuda are white 
and rather smaller than in common cabbages ; those of the Ports- 
mouth broccoli have narrower sepals, and smaller, less elongated 
petals ; and in no other cabbage could any difference be detected. 
With respect to the seed-pods, in the purple Kohlrabi alone, do they 
differ, being a little longer and narrower than usual. I made a col- 
lection of the seeds of twenty -eight different kinds, and most of them 
were undistinguishable ; when there was any difference it was ex- 
cessively slight ; thus, the seeds of various broccolis and cauliflow- 
ers, 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 differ- 
ence is presented if, on the one hand, we compare the leaves and 
stems of the various kinds of cabbage with their flowers, pods, and 
seeds, and on the other hand the corresponding parts in the varieties 
of maize and wheat ! The explanation is obvious ; the seeds alone 
are valued in our cereals, and their variations have been selected ; 
whereas the seeds, seed-pods, and flowers have been utterly neglect- 
ed 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. 04 

It would be useless to give a classified description 65 of the nume- 
rous races, sub-races, and varieties of the cabbage ; but it may be 
mentioned that Dr. Lindley has lately proposed 6G 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. 

V. All the leaf-buds active and open, with most of the flowers abor- 
tive and succulent, as in the sprouting-broccoli. This latter vari- 
ety is a new one, and bears the same relation to common broccoli, as 

«3 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. " 5 See the elder De Candolle, in 

52 ; Metzger, ' Syst, Beschreibung der ' Transact, of Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. ; and 

Kult. Kohlarten,' 1S33, s. 6. Metzger ' Kohlarten,' &c. 

64 Iiegnier, ' De l'Economie Publique 60 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S59, p. 992. 
des Celtes,' 1818, p. 43?. 

Chap. IX. CABBAGES. 301 

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 characters. 

The principal kinds of cabbage existed at least as early as the six- 
teenth century, 67 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 cab- 
bages of different kinds, which had purposely been planted near each 
other, and of the seedlings no less than 155 were plainly deteriora- 
ted and mongrelized ; nor were the remaining 78 all perfectly true. 
It may be donbted 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 " Cot- 
tager'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 raised by me were not nearly so constant in 
character as any common cabbage. 

Although most of the kinds keep true if carefully preserved from 
crossing, yet the seed-beds must be yearly examined, and a few 
seedlings are generally found false ; but even in this case the 
force of inheritance is shown, for, as Metzger has remarked 69 
when speaking of Brussel-sprouts, the variations generally keep 
to their "unter art," or main race. But in order that any kind 
may lie truly propagated there must be no great change in the 
conditions of life ; thus cabbages will not form heads in hot coun- 
tries, and the same thing has been observed with an English 
variety grown daring an extremely warm and damp autumn near 
Paris. 10 Extremely poor soil also affects the characters of certain 

Most authors believe that all the races are descended from the 
wild cabbage found on the western shores of Europe ; but Alph. 
De Candolle T1 forcibly argues on historical and other grounds that 
it is more probable that two or three closely allied forms, generally 
ranked as distinct species, still living in the Mediterranean region, 
are the parents, now all commingled together, of the various culti- 
vated kinds. In the same manner as we have often seen with do- 
mesticated animals, the supposed multiple origin of the cabbage 

67 Alpli. De Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot., e '-' ' KoUarten,' ?. 22. 

pp. S42 ami 9-0. ™ Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 

88 '• Gardener's Chron.,' Feb. 1858, p. 52; Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 22. 

128. 71 ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. S40. 

392 CULINARY PLANTS. Cap. ix. 

throws no light on the characteristic differences between the cul- 
tivated forms. If our cabbages are the descendants of three or 
four distinct species, every trace of any sterility which may origi- 
nally have existed between them is now lost, for none of the varieties 
can b<# kept distinct without scrupulous care to prevent intercross^ 

The other cultivated forms of the genus Brassica are descended, 
according to the view adopted by Godron and Metzger, 72 from two 
species, B. napas 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 no pus has given rise to two large groups, name 
]y, 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, 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 Go- 
dron 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 bien- 
nial 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 of analogous variation in three forms which are generally 
considered as distinct species. But scarcely any modification seems 
so easily acquired as a succulent enlargement of the stem or root — 
that is a store of nutriment laid up for the plant's own future use. 
We see this in our radishes, beet, and in the less generally known 
" turnip-rooted" celery, and in the finocchio or Italian variety of the 
common fennel. Mr. Buckman has lately proved by his interesting 
experiments how quickly the roots of the wild parsnip can be en- 
larged, as Vilmorin formerly proved in the case of the carrot. 76 

72 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. be valued equally with positive results. 

54 ; Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 10. On the other hand, M. Carriere has 

'3 ' Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. lately stated (' Gard. Chronicle,' 1S65, 

Gazette ' 1S56 p. 729. p. 1154) that he took seed from a wild 

74 ' Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. carrot, growing far from any cultivated 

Gazette ' 1S55, p. 7-30. land, and even in the first generation 

76 Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 51. the roots of his seedlings differed in 

76 These experiments by Vilmorin have being spindle-shaped, longer, softer and 

been quoted by many writers. An emi- less fibrous than those of the wild plant, 

nent botanist, Prof. Decaisne, has lately From these seedlings he raised several 

expressed doubts on the subject from his distinct varieties, 
own negative results, but these cannot 

Chap. IX. PEAS. 303 

This latter plant, in its cultivated state, differs in scarcely any 
character from the wild English species, except in general luxu- 
riance and in the size and quality of its roots ; hut in the root ten 
varieties, differing in colour, shape, and quality, are cultivated 77 in 
England, and come truo 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 modifica- 
tions 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 
specifically distinct from the field-pea (P. arvense). The latter ex- 
ists 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." 8 Andrew Knight crossed, as I am informed by the 
Rev. A. Fitch, the field-pea with a well-known garden variety, the 
Prussian pea, and the cross seems to have been perfectly fertile. 
Dr. Alefeld has recently studied 79 the genus with care, and, after 
having cultivated about fifty varieties, concludes that they all cer- 
tainly belong to the same species. It is an interesting fact already 
alluded to, that, according to O. Heer, M 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. ar- 
vense, or field-pea. The varieties of the common garden-pea are 
numerous, and differ considerably from each other. For compari- 
son I planted at the same time forty-one English and French varie- 
ties, and in this one case I will describe minutely their differences. 
The varieties differ greatly in height, — namely from between 6 and 
12 inches to 8 feet, 61 — in manner of growth, and in period of matu- 
rity. 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 Pais nain hatif, and the 

77 Loudon's 'Encyclop. of Gardening,' 79 ' Botanische Zeitung,' 1860, s. 204. 
p. 835. 80 ' Die PQanzen der Pfahlbauten,* 

78 Alph. De Candolle, ' Ge"ograph. Bot.,' 186G, s. 23. 

960. Mr. Bentham (' Hort. Journal,' vol. 81 A variety called the Rouncival at- 

ix. (1855), p. 141) believes that garden tains this height, as is stated by Mr. 

and field peas belong to the same spe- Gordon in 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' (2nd 

cies, and in this respect he differs from series), vol. i., 1835, p. 3T4, from which 

Dr. Targioni. paper I have taken some facts. 


moderately tall Blue Prussian, have leaves about two-thirds of the 
size of the tallest kind. In the Daneeroft the leaflets are rather 
small and a little pointed; in the Queen of Dwarfs rather rounded ; 
and in the Queen of England broad and large. In these three peas 
the slight differences in the shape of the leaves are accompanied by 
slight differences in colour. In the Pais 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 Pais nam hatif, but Hairs' Dwarf Monmouth, which 
has largj 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 con- 
stant characters, differ greatly in the cultivated varieties of the pea ; 
and these are tbe valuable, and consequently the selected parts. 
Sugar peas, or Pois sans parchemin, are remarkable from their 
thin pods, which, whilst young, are cooked and eaten whole ; and 
in this group, which according to Mr. Gordon includes eleven sub- 
varieties, it is the pod which differs most : thus, Lewis's Negro- 
podded pea has a straight, broad, smooth, and dark- purple pod, with 
the husk not so thin as in the other kinds ; the pod of another 
variety is extremely bowed ; that of the Pois 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; — in smoothness, that of Daneeroft being re- 
markably glossy, whereas that of the Ne plus ultra is rugged ; — 
in being either nearly cylindrical, or broad and flat ; — in being 
pointed at the end as in Thurston's Reliance, or much truncated as 
in the American Dwarf. In the Axmergne pea the whole end of the 
pod is bowed upwards. In the Queen of the Dwarfs and in Scimitar 
peas the pod is almost elliptic in shape. I here give drawings of 
the four most distinct pods produced by the plants cultivated by me. 

Chap. IX. 



In the pea itself we have every tint between almost pure white, 
brown, yellow, and intense green ; in the varieties of the sugar yeas 

Fig. 41.— Pods and Peas. I. Queen of Dwarfs. II. American Dwarf. III. Thurs- 
ton's Reliance. IV. Pois G£ant Bans parchemin. (7. Dan O'Rourke Pea. 
b. Queen of Dwarfs Pea. c. Knight's Tall White Marrow, d. Lewis's 
Negro Pea. 

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, strife, 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 dif- 
ferent varieties the pods contain, according to Mr. Gordon, from 
eleven or twelve to only four or five peas. The largest peas are 
nearly twice as much in diameter as the smallest ; and the latter 
are not always borne by the most dwarfed kinds. Peas differ much 
in shape, being smooth and spherical, smooth and oblong, nearly 
oval in the Queen of Dwarfs, and nearly cubical and crumpled in 
many of the larger kinds. 

With respect to the value of the differences between the chief 
varieties, it cannot be doubted that, if one of the tall Sugar-peas, 
with purple flowers, thin-skinned pods of an extraordinary shape, 
including large, dark-purple peas, grew wild by the side of the 
lowly Queen of the Dicarfs, 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 indispu- 
tably 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 Can- 
terbury, w r ell known as the originator of several new kinds, that 
certain varieties have remained constant for a considerable time, — 
for instance, Knight's Blue Dicarf which came out about the year 
1820." But the greater number of varieties have a singularly short 
existence : thus Loudon remarks M that " sorts which were highly 
approved in 1821, are now, in 1833, nowhere to be found;" and on 
comparing the lists of 1833 with those of 1855, I find that nearly 
all the varieties have changed. Mr. Masters informs me that the 
nature of the soil caiises 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. Mas- 
ters 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 

82 'Phil. Transact.,' 1799, p. 196. 84 'Encyclopaedia of Gardening,' p. 

83 ' Gardener's Magazine,' vol. i., 1S26, 823. 
p. 153. 

Chap. IX. PEAS. 307 

wrinkled, and white and wrinkled peas ; and although he sowed 
these four varieties separately during several successive years, each 
kind always reproduced all four kinds mixed together ! 

With respect to the varieties not naturally intercrossing, I have 
ascertained that the pea, which in this respect differs from some 
other Lcguminosoe, 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 somo 
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 generations from 
distinct varieties growing close together." 5 Under these circum- 
stances, Mr. Fitch raised, as he informs me, one variety for twenty 
years, which always came true. From the analogy of kidney- 
beans I should^ have expected 86 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 sponta- 
neously intercrossed, as shown (in a manner hereafter to be ex- 
plained) by the pollen of the one variety having acted directly om 
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-ferti- 
lisation are weakly and soon perish, I cannot even conjecture. It 
may, however, be noticed that several of Andrew Knight's varie- 
ties, 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" of Knight's four kinds of marrows, says, they 
have acquired a famous history, hut their glory has departed. 

With respect to Beans {Fuba 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 

85 See Dr. Anderson to the same effect dener's Chronicle,' 1S57, Oct. 25th. 

In the ' Bath Soc. Agricultural Papers,' 87 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S65, p. 

vol. iv. p. 8T. 387. 

88 I have published full details of ex- 88 ' Bonplandia,' x., 1862, s. 848. 
periments on this subject in the ' Oar- 


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 (Solatium tuberosum). — There is little doubt about the 
parentage of tliis 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 numerous ; thus Lawson 91 gives a descrip- 
tion 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 vaiy 
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. 911 

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 
iuches 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-kartoffdn 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, 

89 0. Heer, 'Die Pflanzen der Pfahl- Chronicle,' 1S45, p. TOO. 

bauten,' 1S66, s. 22. 9S ' Putsche und Vertuch, Versuch 

90 Darwin, ' Journal of Researches,' einer Monographie der Kartoffeln,' 1819, 
1S45, p. 285. s. 9, 15. See also Dr. Anderson's ' Re- 

91 Synopsis of the vegetable products creations in Agriculture,' vol. iv. p. 325. 
of Scotland, quoted in Wilson's ' British 94 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, p. 
Farming,' p. 31T. 1052. 

92 Sir G. Mackenzie, in ' Gardener's 

Cn iP . IX. POTATOES. 399 

being either waxy or mealy; in their 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 generally display innumerable slight differences. Several 
varieties, even when propagated by tubers, are far from constant, 
as will be seen in the chapter on Bud-variation. Dr. Anderson 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 other above ground, pro- 
duced extremely dissimilar tubers ; and some tubers which exter- 
nally could hardly be distinguished, differed widely in quality when 
cooked. Even in this case of extreme variability, the parent-stock 
had some influence on the progeny, for the greater number of the 
seedlings resembled in some degree the parent Irish potato. Kid- 
ney potatoes must be ranked amongst the most highly cultivated 
and artificial races : yet their peculiarities can often be strictly pro- 
pagated by seed. A great authority, Mr. Rivers, 06 states that " seed- 
lings 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." 

05 ; Bath Society Agrieult. Papers,' 96 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, p. 

vol. v. p. 127. And ' Recreations in 64C. 
Agriculture,' vol. v. p. S6. 

400 FRUITS. Chap. X. 



FRUITS. — Grapes — vary in odd and tripling particulars. 









ORNAMENTAL TREES — their variation in degree and 




The Vine ( Yitis vim/era). — The best authorities consider all oar 
grapes as the descendants cf 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 de- 
scribed by Clemente, 3 in a forest in Spain ; but as the grape sows 

1 Heer, ' PQanzen der Pfahlbauten,' tbe fossil vine found by Dr. G. Planchon, 
1866, s. 28. see ' Nat. Hist. Review,' 1865, April, p. 

2 Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' 224. 

p. S72 ; Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, in 3 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 

' Jour. Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 133. For 100. 

Chap. X. VINES. 401 

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 propaga- 
ted by seed, wo may infer from the largely increased number of 
varieties since the earlier historical records. New hot-house varie- 
ties are produced almost every year ; for instance, 5 a golden-coloured 
variety has been recently raised in England from a black grape 
without the aid of a cross. Van Mons 6 reared a multitude of va- 
rieties from the seed of one vine, which was completely separated 
from all others, so that there could not, at least in this generation, 
have been any crossing, and the seedlings presented " les analogues 
de toutes les sortes," and differed in almost every possible character, 
both in the 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 Horticul- 
tural Gardens of London, published in 1842, 99 varieties are enu- 
merated. Wherever the grape is grown many varieties occur: Pal- 
las describes 24 in the Crimea, and Burnes mentions 10 in Cabool. 
The classification of the varieties has much perplexed writers, and 
Count Odart is reduced to a geographical system ; but I will not 
enter on this subject, nor on the many and great differences between 
the varieties. I will merely specify a few curious and trifling pecu- 
liarities, all taken from Odart 's highly esteemed work, 7 for the sake 
of showing the diversified variability of this plant. Simon has classed 
grapes into two main divisions, those with downy leaves and those 
with smooth leaves, but he admits that in one variety, namely the 
Rebazo, the leaves are either smooth or downy ; and Odart (p. 70) 
states that some varieties have the nerves alone, and other varieties 
their young leaves, downy, whilst the old ones are smooth. The grape (Odart, p. 397) presents a peculiarity by which 
it can be at once recognised amongst a host of other varieties, name- 
ly, 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 

4 See an account of M. Vibert's ex- " ' Arbres Fruitiers,' 1336, torn. ii. p. 

perlments, by Alex. Jordan, in ' Mem. 290. 

de J'Acad. de Lyon,' torn, ii., 1852, p. 7 Odart, 'Ampelographie Universelle,' 

10S 1S49. 

s ' Cardner's Chronicle,' 1864, p. 438. 

402 FRUITS. Chap. X. 

the leaves, and it is always the lowest on the branches, suddenly be- 
coming 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 Maecabeo (p. 71), which often produces small 
round, and large oblong, berries in the same bunch. Certain grapes 
called Nebbiolo (p. 439) present a constant character, sufficient for 
their recognition, namely, "the slight adherence of that part of the 
pulp which surrounds the seeds to the rest of the berry, when cut 
through transversely." A Rhenish variety is mentioned (p. 228) 
which likes a dry soil ; the fruit ripens well, but at the moment of 
maturity, if much rain falls, the berries are apt to rot ; on the other 
hand, the fruit of a Swiss variety (p. 243) is valued for well 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 resist the wind. Many other variable charac- 
ters could be given, but the foregoing facts are sufficient to show 
in how many small structural and constitutional details the vine 
varies. During the vine disease in France certain whole groups of 
varieties b have suffered far more from mildew than others. Thus 
" the group of the Chasselas, so rich in varieties, did not'afford a sin- 
gle 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 Ameri- 
can 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 rilba). — 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 silk- 
worm, in a manner not observed with other plants ; but this has 
arisen simply from such -variations in the mulberry having been at- 
tended to, selected, and rendered more or less constant. M. de Qua- 
trefages 9 briefly describes six kinds cultivated in one valley in 
France: of these the amourouso produces excellent leaves, but is 

8 M. Bouchardat, in ' Comptes Ren- 9 ' Etudes sur les Maladies actuellcs 

dus,' Dec. 1st, 1851, quoted in ' Garden- du Ver a Soie,' 1^59, p. 831. 
er's CUron.,' 1852, p. 435. 

Chap. X. ORANGE GROUP. 403 

rapidly being abandoned because it produces much fruit mingled 
with the leaves: the antqfino yields deeply cut leaves of the. finest 
quality, but not in great quantity : the ckaro is much sought for be- 
cause the leaves can be easily collected : lastly, the roso bears strong 
hardy leaves, produced in large quantity, but with the one incon- 
venience, that they are best adapted for the worms after their fourth 
moult. MM. Jacquemet -Bonne font, of Lyon, however, remark in 
their catalogue (1802) that two sub-varieties have been confounded 
under the name of the roso, one having leaves too thick for the ca- 
terpillars, 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 us 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 ci- 
trons, each of which has given rise to whole groups of varieties, 
monsters, and supposed hybrids. One high authority u believes that 
these four reputed species are all varieties of the wild Citrus medica, 
but that the shaddock (Citrus decumana), which is not known in a 
wild state, is a distinct species ; though its distinctness is doubted by 
another writer "of great authority on such matters," namely, Dr. 
Buchanan Hamilton. Alph. De Candolle, 13 on the other hand — and 
there cannot be a more capable judge — advances what he considers 
sufficient evidence of the orange (he doubts whether the bitter and 
sweet kinds are specifically distinct), the lemon, and citron, having 
been found wild, and consequently that they are distinct. He men- 
tions two other forms cultivated in Japan and Java, which he ranks 
as undoubted species; bespeaks 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 ber- 
gamotte, as probably hybrids. 

10 i Productive Resources of India,' p. which he gives a curious diagram of the 
130. supposed relationship of all the forms. 

11 'Traite du Citrus,' 1811. ' Teoria 12 Mr. Bentham, Review of Dr. A. 
della Riproduzione Vegetale,' 1816. I Targioni-Tozzetti, 'Journal of Hort. Soc.,' 
quote chiefly from this second work. In vol. ix. p. 188. 

1339 Gallesio published in folio ' Gli " < Geogruph. Bot.,' p. 863. 
Agrumi dei Giard. Bot. di Firenze,' in 

404 FRUITS. Chap. X 

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 Mild are truly aboriginal or are escaped seedlings, many 
of the forms, which must be ranked as varieties, transmit their cha- 
racters almost perfectly by seed. Sweet and bitter oranges differ in 
no important respect except in the flavour of their fruit, but Gallesio 14 
is most emphatic that both kinds can be propagated by seed with 
absolute certainty. Consequently, in accordance with his simple 
rule, he classes them as distinct species ; as he does sweet and bitter 
almonds, the peach and nectarine, &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 posi- 
tive 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 resem- 
bling their parent-forms. I can adduce another case : the myrtle- 
leaved orange is ranked by all authors as a variety, but is very dis- 
tinct 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, 16 they largely intercross 
without artificial aid ; thus he positively states that seeds taken from 
lemon-trees [G. lemonum) growing mingled with the citron (ft me- 
dica), which is generally considered as a distinct species, produced 
a graduated series of varieties between these two forms. Again, an 

i* 'Teoria della Riproduzione,' pp. 302 ; vol. ii. p. 111. 
52-57. 16 'Teoria della Uiproduzione,' p. 53. 

1S Hooker's 'Bot. Misc.,' vol. i. p. 

Chap. x. ORANGE GROUP. 405 

Adam's apple was produced from the seed of a sweet orange, which 
grew close to lemons and citrons. But such facts hardly aid us in de- 
termining whether to rank these forms as species or varieties; for it 
is now known that undoubted species of Verbascum, Cistus, Primula, 
Salix. fas., 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 state- 
ment by another, 17 namely, that when he impregnated the flowers 
of the common orange with the pollen taken from undoubted varie- 
ties 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 re- 
markable facts in vegetable physiology : Gallesio ie 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 

The second remarkable fact is that two supposed hybrids 19 (for 
their hybrid nature was not ascertained) between an orange and 
either a lemon or citron produced, on the same tree, leaves, flowers, 
and fruit of both pure parent-forms, as well as of a mixed or crossed 
nature. A bud taken from any one of the branches and grafted 
on another tree produces either one of the pure kinds or a capricious 
tree reproducing the three kinds. Whether the sweet lemon, which 
includes within the same fruit segments of differently flavoured 
pulp, 20 is an analogous case, I know not. But to this subject I shall 
have to recur. 

I will conclude by giving from A. Risso 21 a short account of a very 
singular variety of the common orange. It is the " citrus a >t ra n ft >t m 
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 

17 Gallesio, 'Teoria della Riprodu- 20 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. 
rione,' p. 69. 613. 

18 Gallesio, idem, p. 67. 21 ' Annales du Museum,' torn. xy.. p. 

19 Gallesio, idem, pp. 75, 70. 188. 



Chap. X. 

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. 

Fig. 42. — Peach and Almond Stones, of natural size, viewed edgeways. 1. 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. 

Peach and Nectarine (Amygdalus Persica). — The best authorities 
are nearly unanimous that the peach has never been found wild. 


It was introduced from Persia into Europe a little before the Chris- 
tian era, and at this period few varieties existed. Alph. l)e Can- 
dolle,-- from the fact of the peach not having spread from Persia at 
an earlier period, and from its not having pure Sanscrit or Hebrew 
names, believes that it is not an aboriginal of Western Asia, but 
came from the terra ineognitaot China. The supposition, however, 
that the peach is a modified almond which acquired its present cha- 
racter 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. 

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 al- 
mond ; and in this he has been followed by various authors." 4 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, slight- 
ly furrowed, much flattened, and elongated stone, protected by a 
tough, greenish layer of bitter flesh. Mr. Bentham "* has particular- 
ly 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 com- 
pressed, in size, shape, strength, and in the depth of the furrows, as 
may be seen In the accompanying drawings (Nos. 4 to 8) of such 
kinds as I have been able to collect. With peach-stones also (Xos. 
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. Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, to whom I am indebted for some of 
the specimens above figured, and Avho has had such great horticul- 
tural 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. Rivera formerly cultivated, and 
which is correctly described in a French catalogue as being oval and 

22 ' Geograph. Bot.' p. S32. mond and the peach. Another high au- 

23 ' Transactions of Hort. Soc.,' vol. thority, Mr. Rivers, who has had such 
iii. p. 1, and vol. iv. p. 8G9, and note to wide experience, strongly suspects ('Gar- 
p. 370. A coloured drawing is given of dener's Chronicle,' 1S63, p. 27) that 
this hybrid. peaches, if left to a state of nature, would 

24 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 185C, p. in the course of time retrograde into thick- 
532. A writer, it may be presumed Dr. fleshed almonds. 

Lindley, remarks on the perfect series 25 'Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 

which may be formed between the al- 163. 

408 FRUITS. Chap. X. 

swollen, with the aspect of a peach, including a hard stone sur- 
rounded by a fleshy covering, which is sometimes eatable. 26 A re- 
markable statement by M. Luizet has recently appeared in the ' Re- 
vue Horticole,' ~ 7 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 suc- 
cession spherical fleshy peach-like fruits, but in 1865 reverted to its 
former state and produced large almonds. 

Again, as I hear from Mr. Rivers, the double-flowering Chinese 
peaches resemble almonds in their manner of growth and in their 
flowers ; the fruit is much elongated and flattened, with the flesh 
both bitter and sweet, but not uneatable, and it is said to be of 
better quality in China. From this stage one small step leads us to 
such inferior peaches as are occasionally raised from seed. For in- 
stance, Mr. Rivers sowed a number of peach-stones imported from 
the United States, where they are collected for raising stocks, and 
some of the trees raised by him produced peaches which were very 
like almonds in appearance, being small and hard, with the pulp 
not softening till very late in the autumn. Van Mons 28 also states 
that he once raised from a peach-stone a peach having the aspect of 
a wild tree, with fruit like that of the almond. From inferior peaches, 
such as these just described, we may pass by small transitions, 
through clingstones of poor quality, to our best and- more melting 
kinds. From this gradation, from the cases of sudden variation 
above recorded, and from the fact that the peach has not been found 
wild, it seems to me by far the most probable view, that the peach is 
the descendant of the almond, improved and modified in a marvel- 
lous manner. 

One fact, however, is opposed to this conclusion. A hybrid, raised 
by Knight from the sweet almond by the pollen of the peach, pro- 
duced 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 ste- 
rility cannot be accounted for by the youth of the trees (and this 

26 Whether this is the same variety as successive years very different kinds of 

one lately mentioned (' Gard. Chron.' fruit. 

1S65, p. 1154) by M. Carriere under the 27 Quoted in ' Gard. Chron.' 1866, p. 

name of Persica intermedia, I know 800. 

not : this var. is said to be intermediate 28 Quoted in ' Journal de la Soc. Imp. 

in nearly all its characters between the d'Horticulture,' 1855, p. 288. 
almond and peach ; it produces during 


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 
certainly given rise to nectarines, or smooth peaches, as they are 
called by the French. Most of the varieties both of the peach and 
nectarine reproduce themselves truly by seed. Gallesio 20 says he has 
verified this with respect to eight races of the peach. Mr. Elvers 30 has 
given some striking instances from his own experience, and it is no- 
torious that good peaches are constantly raised in North America 
from seed. Many of the American sub-varieties come true or near- 
ly true to their kind, such as the white-blossom, several of the yel- 
low-fruited freestone peaches, the blood clingstone, the heath, and 
the lemon-clingstone. On the other hand, a clingstone peach has 
been known to give rise to a freestone. 31 In England it has been 
noticed that seedlings inherit from their parents flowers of the same 
size and colour. Some characters, however, contrary to what might 
have been expected, often are not inherited ; such as the presence 
and form of the glands on the leaves. 32 With respect to nectarines, 
both cling and freestones are known in North America to reproduce 
themselves by seed. 33 In England the new white nectarine was a 
seedling of the old white, and Mr. Rivers 34 has recorded several 
similar cases. From this strong tendency to inheritance, which 
both peach and nectarine trees exhibit, — from certain slight consti- 
tutional 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 can- 
not even be distinguished, as I am informed by Mr. Rivers, whilst 
young, that they have been ranked by some authors as specifically 
distinct. Gallesio does not doubt that they are distinct ; even Alph. 
De Candolle does not appear perfectly assured of their specific iden- 
tity ; and an eminent botanist has quite recently 30 maintained that 
the nectarine " probably constitutes a distinct species." 

29 ' Teoria della Riproduzione Vege- pece,' torn. ii. p. 97. 

tale,' 1816, p. S6. 33 Biickell's ' Nat, Hist, of N. Caro- 

30 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. lina,' p. 10"2, and Downing's ' Fruit 
1195. Trees,' p. 505. 

31 Mr. Rivers, ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 3 * ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S62, p. 
1S59, p. 774. 1196. 

3a Downing, 'The Fruits of America,' 35 The peach and nectarine donotsuc- 

1S45, pp. 475, 4S9, 492, 494, 496. See ceed equally well in the same soil : see 

also F. Michaux, ' Travels in N. Ameri- Lindley's ' Horticulture,' p. 351. 

ca' (Eng. translat.), p. 228. For similar 3S Godron, ' Del'Espece,' torn. Ii. 1S59, 

cases in France see Godron, ' De l'Es- p. 97. 

410 FRUITS. 

Chap. X. 

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 varie- 
ties of the peach he raised three varieties of nectarine ; and in one 
of these cases no nectarine grew near the parent peach-tree. In an- 
other instance Mr. Rivers raised a nectarine from a peach, and in the 
succeeding generation another nectarine from this nectarine. 40 Other 
such instances have been communicated to me, but they need not be 
given. Of the converse case, namely, of nectarine-stones yielding 
peach-trees (both free and clingstones), we have six undoubted in- 
stances 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 necta- 
rines, 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 pro- 
ducing a nectarine, 42 and in 1766 he added two other instances. In 
the same work, the editor, Sir J. E. Smith, describes the more re- 
markable case of a tree in Norfolk, which usually bore both perfect 
nectarines and perfect peaches ; but during two seasons some of the 
fruit were half-and-half in nature. 

Mr. Salisbury in 1808 43 records six other cases of peach-trees pro- 
ducing nectarines. Three of the varieties are named ; viz., the Al- 
berge, Belle Chevreuse, and Royal George. This latter tree seldom 
failed to produce both kinds of fruit. He gives another case of a 
half-and-half fruit. 

At Radford in Devonshire 44 a clingstone peach, purchased as the 
Chancellor, was planted in 1815, and in 1824, after having previous- 
ly produced peaches alone, bore on one branch twelve nectarines ; 
in 1825 the same branch yielded twenty-six nectarines, and in 1826 

87 'Transact. Hort, Soc.,' vol. vl. p. 1S59, p. 774; 1862, p. 1195; 1S65, p. 
394 1059; and 'Journal of Hort.,' 1866, p. 

88 Downing's ' Fruit Trees,' p. 502. 102. / 
SD ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 42 ' Correspondence of Linnasus,' 1S21, 

1195. pp. 7, 8, 70. 

' 10 'Journal of Horticulture,' Feb. 6th, * 3 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. i. p. 103. 

1866, p. 102. 44 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' 1826, 

41 Mr. Rivers, in ' Gardener's Chron.,' vol. 1. p, 471. 


thirty-six nectarines together 'with eighteen peaches. One of the 
peaches was almost as smooth on one side as a nectarine. The nec- 
tarines were as dark as, but smaller than, the Elrugc. 

At Beccles a Royal George peach' 15 produced a fruit, "three parts 
of it being peach and one part nectarine, quite distinct in appear- 
ance 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 10 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 1S a Vanguard peach-tree produced, in the midst of its or- 
dinary fruit, a single red Roman nectarine. 

Mr. Calver is stated M to have raised in the United States a seed- 
ling peach which produced a mixed crop of both peaches and necta- 

Near Dorking " a branch of the Teton de Venus peach, which re- 
produces itself truly by seed, 61 bore its own fruit - so remarkable for 
its prominent point, and a nectarine rather smaller but well formed 
and quite round." 

The previous cases all refer to peaches suddenly producing nec- 
tarines, but at Carclew 52 the unique case occurred, of a nectarine- 
tree, raised twenty years before from seed and never grafted, pro- 
ducing 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 pro- 
ducing peach-trees, — of the same tree bearing peaches and necta- 
rines, — of peach-trees suddenly producing by bud-variation necta- 
rines (such nectarines reproducing nectarines by seed), as well as 
fruit in part nectarine and in part peach, — and lastly of one nec- 
tarine-tree first bearing half-and-half fruit, and subsequently true 
peaches. As the peach came into existence before the nectarine, it 
might have been expected from the law of reversion that nectarines 
would give birth by bud-variation or by seed to peaches, oftener 
than peaches to nectarines ; but this is by no means the case. 

46 Loudon's 'Gardener's Mag.,' 132S, 49 ' Phytologist,' vol. iv. p. 299. 

p. 53. so ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1S56, p. 531. 

49 Ibid., 1830, p. 597. »» Godron, 'De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 

47 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. 61T. 97. 

18 ' Gardener's Chroniele,' 1814, p. 589. 52 ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1S5G, p. 531. 

412 FEUITS. Chap. X. 

Two explanations have been suggested to account for these con- 
versions. First, that the parent-trees have been in every case hy- 
brids 63 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 necta- 
rine. But let it be observed that in the previous list no less than 
sis well-known varieties and several other unnamed varieties of the 
peach have once suddenly produced perfect nectarines by bud-varia- 
tion ; 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 : al- 
though this certainly is possible, it cannot here apply ; for we have 
not a shadow of evidence that a branch which has borne fruit di- 
rectly affected by foreign pollen is so profoundly modified as after- 
wards 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 Car- 
clew 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 follow- 
ing 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. 65 We can 
hardly account for this parallelism by supposing that each variety 
of the nectarine is descended from a corresponding variety of the 
peach ; for though our nectarines are certainly the descendants of 
several kinds of peaches, yet a large number are the descendants 
of other nectarines, and they vary so much when thus reproduced 
that we can scarcely admit the above explanation. 

83 Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. of Gardening,' p. 911. 
Bot.,'p. 886. 65 ' Catalogue of Fruit in Garden of 

M Thompson, in Loudon's 'Encyclop. Hort. Soc.,' 1842, p. 105. 


The varieties of the peach have largely increased in number 
since the Christian era. when from two to five varieties alone were 
known ; 5B and the nectarine was unknown. At the present time, 
besides many varieties said to exist in China, Downing describes in 
the United States seventy-nine native and imported varieties of the 
peach ; and a few years ago Lindley 57 enumerated one hundred and 
sixty-four varieties of the peach and nectarine grown in England. 
I have already indicated the chief points of difference between the 
several varieties. Nectarines, even when produced from distinct 
kinds of peaches, always possess their own peculiar flavour, and are 
smooth and small. Clingstone and freestone peaches, which differ 
in the ripe flesh either firmly adhering to the stone, or easily sepa- 
rating 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 le33 
serrated, and are either destitute of glands, or have globose or reni 
form glands ; 58 and some few peaches, such as the Brugnon, bear 
on the same tree both globular and kidney-shaped glands. 5 " Ac- 
cording to Robertson 60 the trees with glandular leaves are liable to 
blister, but not in any great degree to mildew ; whilst the non- 
glandular trees are more subject to curl, to mildew, and tp the 
attacks of aphides. The varieties differ in the period of their ma- 
turity, in the fruit keeping well, and in hardiness, — the latter cir- 
cumstance being especially attended to in the United States. Cer- 
tain 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 

88 Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, ' Journal 1S65, p. 1154. 

Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 16T. Alph. De eo ' Transact. Ilort. Soc.,' vol. iii. p. 

Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 885. 332. See also ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 

67 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. p. 1S65, p. 271, to same effect. Also 
554. ' Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 26th, 

68 Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Gardening,' 1S65, p. 254. 

P. 907. oi ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iv. p. 

e » M. Carriere, in ' Gard. Chron ,' 512. 

414 ■ FEUITS. Chap..X 

sharp point ; its leaves are glandless and widely dentate. 61 " The 
Emperor of Russia 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 2£ inches in diameter, 
whilst those of the fruit-bearing kinds do not at most exceed 1J 
inch in diameter. The flowers of the double-flowered peaches have 
the singular property 65 of frequently producing double or treble 
fruit. Finally, there is good reason to believe that the peach is an 
almond profoundly modified ; but whatever its origin may have 
been, there can be no doubt that it has yielded during the last 
eighteen centuries many varieties, some of them strongly character- 
ised, belonging both to the nectarine and peach form. 

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca). — It is commonly admitted that this 
tree is descended from a single species, now found wild in the Cauca- 
sian region. 06 On this view the varieties deserve notice, because 
they illustrate differences supposed by some botanists to be of spe- 
cific 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, some- 
times with ear-like appendages at their bases, and sometimes with 
glands on the petioles. The flowers are generally alike, but are 
small in the Masculine. The fruit varies much in size, shape, and 
in having the suture little pronounced or absent ; in the skin being 
smooth, or downy as in the orange-apricot ; and in the flesh cling- 
ing to the stone, as in the last-mentioned kind, or in readily sepa- 
rating from it, as in the Turkey-apricot. In all these differences we 
see the closest analogy with the varieties of the peach and nectarine. 

62 ' Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 283. 

8th, 1S63, p. 1S8. co Alpn . De Candolle, ' Geograph. 

63 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. p. Bot,, p. 879. 

412. «' ' Transact. Hort. Soc.' (2nd series), 

e 4 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S57, p. vol. i., 1835, p. 56. See also ' Cat. of 

216. Fruit in Garden of Hort. Soc.,' 3rd 

66 'Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. ii. p. edit., 1S42. 

Chap. X. APRICOT PLUMS. 415 

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 Ilemskirke, the stone presents a 
singular character in being perforated, with a bundle of fibres pass- 
ing through the perforation from end to end. The most constant 
and important character, according to Thompson, is whether the 
kernel if 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 better than in some other kinds : slightly bitter in 
the Royal ; and " sweet like a hazel-nut" in the Breda, Angoumois, 
and others. In the case of the almond, bitterness has been thought 
by some high authorities to indicate specific difference. 

In N. America the Roman apricot endures " cold and unfavourable 
situations, where no other sort, except the Masculine, will succeed ; 
and its blossoms bear quite a severe frost without injury." 68 Ac- 
cording to Mr. Rivers G9 seedling apricots deviate but little from the 
character of their race : in France the Alberge is constantly repro- 
duced 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 {Pvunus insititia). — Formerly the sloe, P. spinosa, was 
thought to be the parent of all our plums ; but now this honour is 
very commonly accorded to P. insititia or the bullace, which is 
found wild in the Caucasus and N .-Western India, and is natural- 
ised in England. 71 It is not at all improbable, in accordance with 
some observations made by Mr. Rivers, 72 that both these forms, 
which some botanists rank as a single species, may be the parents 
of our domesticated plums. Another supposed parent-form, the 
P. domestica, is said to be found wild in the region of the Caucasus. 
Godron remarks 73 that the cultivated varieties may be divided into 
two main groups, which he supposes to be descended from two 

68 Downing, ' The Fruits of America,' Britannica,' vol. iv. p. 80. 

1845, p. 157 ; with respect to the Alberge 72 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1SG5, p. 27. 

apricot in France, see p. 153. 73 ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 91. On 

*» 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1SG3, p. the parentage of our plums, see also 

364. Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph Bot.,' p. 

70 'Travels in the llimalayan Pro- 878. Also Targioni-Tozzetti, 'Journal 
vinces,' vol. i., 1841, p. 295. Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 104. Also Bablng- 

71 See an excellent discussion on this ton, ' Manual of Brit. Botany,' 1851, p. 
subject in Ilewett C. Watson's 'Cybele 87. 



Chap. X. 

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 di- 

5 6 7 

Fig. 43. — Plum Stones, of natural size, viewed laterally. 1. Bullace Plum. 2 
shire Damson. 3. Blue Gage. 4. Orleans. 5. Elvas. C. Denver's Victoria, 

7. Dia- 

versified manner of growth in our various fruit-trees, it is difficult 
to lay much weight on these latter characters. With respect to the 
shape of the fruit, we have conclusive evidence that it is extremely 
variable : Downing 74 gives outlines of the plums of two seedlings, 
namely, the red and imperial gages, raised from the greengage ; 
and the fruit of both is more elongated than that of the greengage. 
The latter has a very blunt broad stone, whereas the stone of the 
imperial gage is " oval and pointed at both ends." These trees also 
differ in their manner of growth : " the greengage is a very short- 
jointed, slow-growing tree, of spreading and rather dwarfish habit ;" 
whilst its offspring, the imperial gage, " grows freely and rises 
rapidly, and has long dark shoots." The famous Washington 

7 * 'Fruits of America,' pp. 276, 278, 
314, 2S4, 276, 310. Mr. Rivers raised 
('Gard. Cbron ,' 1863, p. 27) from the 
Prune-peche, which bears large, round, 

red plums on stout robust shoots, a seed- 
ling which bears oval, smaller fruit on 
shoots that are so slender as to be almost 

Chap. X. PLUMS. 417 

plum bears a globular fruit, but its offspring, tbe emerald drop, is 
nearly as much elongated as the most elongated plum figured by 
Downing, namely, Manning's prune. I have made a small collec- 
tion of the stones of twenty-five kinds, and they graduate in shape 
from the bluntest into the sharpest kinds. As characters derived 
from seeds are generally of high systematic importance, I have 
thought it worth while to give drawings of the most distinct kinds 
in my small collection ; and they may be seen to differ in a surpris- 
ing 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, 
Denver'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 
clpsely 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 recent- 
ly introduced into England. 75 Varieties occasionally arise having 
an innate adaptation for certain soils, almost as strongly pronounc- 
ed as with natural species growing on the most distinct geological 
formations ; thus in America the imperial gage, differently from al- 
most all other kinds, " is pectdiarily 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 na- 
tive Yorkshire it bears abundantly : one of my relations also re- 
peatedly tried in vain to grow this variety in a sandy district in 

Mr. Rivers has ffiven 77 a number of interesting facts, showing 

76 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1855, p. 726. enumerates five kinds which can be pro- 

76 Downing's ' Fruit Trees,' p. 278. pagate.l in France by seed : see also 

77 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1803, p. 27. Downing's '^ruit Trees cf America,' p. 
Sageret, in his ' Pomologie Phys.,' p. 34G, 305, 312, &c. 

418 FRUITS. Chap. X. 

how truly many varieties can be propagated by seed. He sowed the 
stones of twenty bushels of the greengage for the sake of raising 
Stocks, and closely observed the seedlings ; " all had the smooth 
shoots, the prominent buds, and the glossy leaves of the greengage, 
but the greater number had smaller leaves and thorns." There are 
two kinds of damson, one the Shropshire with downy shoots, and 
the other the Kentish with smooth shoots, and these differ but 
slightly in any other respect : Mr. Rivers sowed some bushels of the 
Kentish damson, and all the seedlings had smooth shoots, but in 
some the fruit was oval, in others round or roundish, and in a few 
the fruit was small, and, except in being sweet, closely resembled 
that of the wild sloe. Mr. Rivers gives several other striking in- 
stances of inheritance : thus, he raised eighty thousand seedlings 
from the common German Quetsche plum, and " not one could be 
found varying in the least, in foliage or habit." Similar facts were 
observed with the Petite Mirabello plum, yet this latter kind (as 
well as the Quetsche) is known to have yielded some well-established 
varieties ; but, as Mr. Rivers remarks, they all belong to the same ■ 
group with the Mirabelle. 

Cherries (Prunus cerasus, avium, &c). — Botanists believe that our 
cultivated cherries are descended from one, two, four, or even more 
wild stocks. 78 That there must be at least two parent-species we 
may infer from the sterility of twenty hybrids raised by Mr. Knight 
from the morello fertilized by pollen of the Elton cherry ; for these 
hybrids produced in all only five cherries, and one alone of these con- 
tained 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 arc enumerated. Some varieties 
present singular characters : thus the flower of the Cluster cherry 
inchides as many as twelve pistils, of which the majority abort ; and 
they are said generally to produce from two to five or six cherries 
aggregated together and borne on a single peduncle. In the Ratafia 

™ Compare Alph. De Candolle, ' Geo- 79 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.' vol. v., 1S24, 

graph. Bot.,' p. $77 ; Bentuam and Tar- p. 295. 

gioni-Tozzetti, in ' Hort. Journal,' vol. eo Ibid., second series, vol. i., 1835, 

ix. p. 1C3 ; Godrou, ' De l'Espece,' torn. p. 2-1S. 

ii. p. 92. 8I Ibid., vol. ii. p. 138. 

Chap. X. APPLES. 419 

cherry scj-eral flower-peduncles arise from a common peduncle, up- 
wards of an inch in length. The fruit of Gascoigne's Heart has its 
apex produced into a globule or drop : that of the white Hungarian 
Gean has almost transparent Mesh. 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 Toussaint, 
which bears at the same time, even as late as September, flowers 
and fruit of all degrees of maturity. The fruit, which is of inferior 
quality, is borne on long, very thin footstalks. But the extraordi- 
nary statement is made that all the leaf-bearing shoots spring from 
old flower-buds. Lastly, there is an important physiological dis- 
tinction 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. 62 

Apple {Pyrus mains). — The one source of doubt felt by botanists 
with respect to the parentage of the apple is whether, besides P. 
mahis, two or three other closely allied wild forms, namely, P. 
aeerb'i and pracox or pa/radidaca, do not deserve to be ranked as 
distinct species. The P. pracox is supposed by some authors' 3 to be 
the parent of the dwarf paradise stock, which, owing to the fibrous 
roots not penetrating deeply into the ground, is so largely used for 
graftine- : but the paradise stock, it is asserted, 84 cannot be propa- 
gated true by seed. The common wild crab varies considerably in 

* 5 These several statements are taken nearly sessile fruit, ranges farther south 

from the four following works, which than the long-stalked P. acerba, which 

may, I believe, be trusted. Thompson, is entirely absent in Madeira, the Cana- 

in 'Hort. Transact.,' see above; Sage- ries, and apparently in Portugal. This 

ret's ' Pomologie Phys.,' 1S30, pp. 3oS, fact supports the belief that these two 

864, 367, 379 ; ' Catalogue of the Fruit in forms deserve to be called species. But 

the Garden of Hort. Soc.,' 1S42, pp. 07, the characters separating them are of 

60 ; Downing, ' The Fruits of America,' slight importance, and of a kind known 

1>4.">. pp. ISO, 195, 200. to vary in other cultivated fruit-trees. 

43 Mr. Lowe states in his 'Flora of 8 * See ' Joura. of Hort. Tour.,' by De- 
Madeira' (quoted in ' Gard. Chron.,' putation of the Caledonian Hort. Soc, 
1863, p. 215) that the P. mains, with its 1S23, p. 459. 

420 FRUITS. Chap. X. 

England ; but many of the varieties are believed to be escrfped seed- 
lings. 65 Every one knows the great difference in the manner of 
growth, in the foliago, 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 differ- 
ent ways, and keeps for only a few weeks or for nearly two years. 
Some few kinds have the fruit covered with a powdery secretion, 
called bloom, like that on plums ; and " it is extremely remarkable 
that this occurs almost exclusively among varieties cultivated in 
Russia." 86 Another Russian apple, the white Astracan, possesses the 
singular property of becoming transparent, when ripe, like some 
sorts of crabs. The api etoile has five prominent ridges, hence its 
name ; the api noir is nearly black : the twin cluster pippin often 
bears fruit joined in pairs. 87 The trees of the several sorts differ 
greatly in their periods of leafing and flowering ; in my orchard the 
Court Pendu Plat produces 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 ^hat the flowers can hardly be seen. 88 
In some kinds the fruit ripens in midsummer ; in others, late in the 
autumn. These several differences in leafing, flowering, and fruit- 
ing, are not at all necessarily correlated ; for, as Andrew Knight has 
remarked, 89 no one can judge from the early flowering of a new 
seedling, or from the early, shedding or change of colour of the 
leaves, whether it will mature its fruit early in the season. 

The varieties differ greatly in constitution. It is notorious that 
our summers are not hot enough for the Newtown Pippin, 90 which 
is the glory of the orchards near New York ; and so it is with seve- 
ral varieties which we have imported from the Continent. On the 
other hand, our Court of Wick succeeds well under the severe cli- 
mate 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 

86 H. C. Watson, ' Cybele Britannica,' vol. iv., 1828, p. 112. 

vol. i. p. 334. 89 ' The Culture of the Apple, 1 p. 43. 

88 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. Van Mons makes the same remark on 

vi., 1S30, p. 83. the pear, 'Arbres Fruitiers,' torn, ii., 

87 See ' Catalogue of Fruit in Garden 1836, p. 414. 

of Hort. Soc.,' 1842, and Downing's 90 Lindley's ' Horticulture,' p. 116. 

American Fruit Trees.' See also Knight on the Apple-Tree, in 

88 Loudon's ' Gardener's Magazine,' ' Transact, of Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. p. 229. 

Chap. X. 

APPLES. 421 

a few fruit eveu during the first year. 91 Mr. Rivers lias recently de- 
scribed n 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 cer- 
tain 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 in- 
sects just above the stock, but that three days afterwards they en- 
tirely disappeared ; this apple, however, was raised from a cross be- 
tween the Golden Hervey and the Siberian Crab ; and the latter, I 
believe, is considered by some authors as specifically distinct. 

The famous St. Valery apple must not be passed over ; the flower 
has a double calyx with ten divisions, and fourteen styles surmounted 
by conspicuous oblique stigmas, but is destitute of stamens or corolla. 
The fruit is constricted round the middle, and is formed of five seed- 
cells, surmounted by nine other eells. 9 ^ Not being provided with 
stamens, the tree requires artificial fertilisation ; and the girls of 
St. Valery annually go to "faire ses pommes," each marking her 
own fruit with a ribbon ; and as different pollen is used, the fruit 
differs, and we here have an instance of the direct action of foreign 
pollen on the mother-plant. These monstrous apples include, as we 
have seen, fourteen seed-cells ; the pigeon-apple, 95 on the other hand, 
has only four, instead of, as with all common apples, five cells ; and 
this certainly is a remarkable difference. 

In the catalogue of apples published in 1842 by the Horticultural 
Society. 897 varieties are enumerated; but the differences between 
most of them are of comparatively little interest, as they are not 
strictly inherited. No one can raise, for instance, from the seed of 
the Ribston Pippin, a tree of the same kind ; and it is said that the 
' Sister Ribston Pippin" was a white, semi-transparent, sour-fleshed 
apple, or rather large crab. 96 Yet it is a mistake to suppose that 
with most varieties the characters are not to a certain extent in- 

91 ' Transact. Hort. Soc,' vol. i., 1S12, that it was more injurious to crab-stocks 
p. 120. than to the apples grafted on them. 

92 'Journal of Horticulture,' March 94 'Mem. de la Soc. Linn, de Paris,' 
13th, 1866, p. 194. torn, iii , 1S25, p. 164 ; and Seringe, 

93 'Transact, Hort. Soc.,' vol. iv. p. ' Bulletin Bot.,' 1S30, p. 117. 

65. For Knight's case, see vol. vi. p. 96 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S49, p. 24. 

547. When the COCCUS first appeared in 96 R. Thompson, in ' Gardener's 

this country, it is said (vol. ii. p. 163) Chron.,' 1S50, p. 7S8. 

422 FRUITS. 

Chap. X. 

herited. 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-groaps of Russetts, Sweetings, Codlins, Pearmains, 
Reincttes, &c., 97 which are all believed, and many are known, to Be 
descended from other varieties bearing the same names. 

Pears (Pyrus communis). — I need say little on this fruit, which 
varies much in the wild state, and to an extraordinary degree when 
cultivated, in its fruit, flowers, and foliage. One of the most cele- 
brated botanists in Europe; M. Decaisne, has carefully studied the 
many varieties ; 98 although he formerly believed that they were de- 
rived from more than one species, he is now convinced that all be- 
long to one. He has arrived at this conclusion from finding in the 
several varieties a perfect gradation between the most extreme 
characters ; so perfect is this gradation that he maintains it to be 
impossible to classify the varieties by any natural method. M. De- 
caisne raised many seedlings from four distinct kinds, and has care- 
fully recorded the variations in each. Notwithstanding this ex- 
treme degree of variability, it is now positively known that many 
kinds reproduce by seed the leading characters of their race." 

Straioberries (Fragaria). — This fruit is remarkable on account of 
the number of species which have been cultivated, and from their 
rapid improvement within the last fifty or sixty years. Let any 
one compare the fruit of one of the largest varieties exhibited at 
our Shows with that of the wild wood strawberry, or, which will 
be a fairer comparison, with the somewhat larger fruit oj 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. Iu 
1766 five species had been introduced, the same which are now cul- 

67 Sageret, ' Pomologie Physiologique,' strawberries are the descendants of F. 
1830, p. 263. Downing's 'Fruit Trees,' grandiflora or GJiiloensis, and I have 
pp. 130, 134, 139, &o. Loudon's ' Gar- seen no account of these forms in their 
dener's Mag.,' vol viii. p. 317. Alexis wild state. Methuen's Scarlet (Down- 
Jordan, ' De l'Origine des diverses Vari- ing, ' Fruits,' p. 527) has " immense fruit 
etes,' in ' Mem. de l'Acad. Imp. de of the largest size," and belongs to the 
Lyon,' torn, ii., 1852, pp. 95, 114, 'Gar- section descended from -P 1 . Yirginiana; 
dener's Chronicle,' 1850, pp. 774, 788. and the fruit of this species, as_ I hear 

98 ' Comptes Rendus,' July 6th, 1S63. from Prof. A. Gray, is only a little larger 

99 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1856, p. than that of F. vesca, or our common 
804 ; 1857, p. 820 ; 1862, p. 1195. wood strawberry. 

100 Most of the largest cultivated 


tivated, but only five varieties of Fragaria oesca, with some sub-va- 
rieties, had been produced. At the present day the varieties of the 
several species arc 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 varices, 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. colli nit, 
and little cultivated in England. Thirdly, the Hautbois, from the 
European F. elatior. Fourthly, the Scarlets, descended from F. 
Virginimta, a native of the whole breadth of North America. 
Fifthly, the Chili, descended from F. Chiloensis, an inhabitant of 
the west coast of the temperate part3 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 autho- 
rity, M. Gay, to be merely a strongly marked race of F. Chiloensis. 101 * 
These five or six forms have been ranked by most botanists as spe- 
cifically distinct ; but this may be doubted, for Andrew Knight, 102 
who raised no less than 400 crossed strawberries, asserts that the F. 
Virginiana, Chiloensis and grandiflora "may be made to breed to- 
gether indiscriminately," and he found, in accordance with the prin- 
ciple of analogous variation, " that similar varieties could be obtain- 
ed from the seeds of any one of them." 

Since Knight's time there is abundant and additional evidence im 
of the extent to which the American forms spontaneously cross. 
We owe. indeed to such crosses most of our choicest existing vari- 
eties. 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 off- 
spring from the Hautbois, though fruiting well, never produced 
seed, with the exception of a single one, which reproduced the pa- 
rent hybrid form. 104 Major R. Trevor Clarke informs me that he 
crossed two members of the Pine class (Myatt's B. Queen and Keen's 
Seedling), with the wood and hautbois, and that in each case he 
raised only a single seedling ; one of these fruited, but was almost 

io» ' Le Fraisier,' par le Comte L. de 1862, p. 335, and 1S5S, p. 172 ; and Mr. 

Lambertye. 1864, p. 50. Barnet's paper in ' Hort. Soc. Transact.,' 

103 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iii. vol. vi., 1826, p. 170. 

1820, p. 207. 104 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. v., 

103 -See an account, by Prof. Decaisne, 1824, p. 294. 
and by others in ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 

424 FRUITS. Chap. X. 

barren. Mr. W. Smith, of York, has raised similar hybrids with 
equally poor success. 105 We thus see 106 that the European and 
American species can with some difficulty be crossed ; but it is 
improbable that hybrids sufficiently fertile to be worth cultivation 
will ever be thus produced. This fact is surprising, as these forms 
structurally are not widely distinct, and are sometimes connected in 
the districts where they grow wild, as I hear from Professor Asa 
Gray, by puzzling intermediate forms. 

The energetic culture of the strawberry is of recent date, and the 
cultivated varieties can in most cases 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 inextricably confused. We find, indeed, that 
horticulturists at present disagree under which class to rank some 
few of the varieties ; and a writer in the ' Bon Jardinier ' of 1840 
remarks that formerly it was possible to class all of them under 
some one species, but that now this is quite impossible with the 
American forms, the new English varieties having completely filled 
up the gaps between them. 107 The blending together of two or 
more aboriginal forms, which there is every reason to believe has 
occurred with some of our anciently cultivated productions, we 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 remark- 
able from " its peculiar dark and polished surface, and from present- 
ing an appearance entirely unlike that of any other kind.'' 108 Al- 
though 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 imbedded in the pulp, is, according to De Jonghe, 109 ab- 
solutely the same in all ; and this no doubt may be accounted for 
by the seed being of no value, and consequently not having been 
subjected to selection. The strawberry is properly three-leaved, but 
in 1761 Duchesne raised a single-leaved variety of the European 
wood-strawberry, which Linnaeus doubtfully raised to the rank of a 
species. Seedlings of this variety, like those of most varieties not 
fixed by long-continued selection, often revert to the ordinary form, 

106 ' Journal of Horticulture,' Dec. 107 ' Le Fraisier,' par le Comte L. de 

JSOth, 1SG2, p. 779. Sea also Mr. Prinos Lambertye, pp. 221, 230. 
to the same effect, idem, 1863, p. 418. 108 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi., p. 

106 For additional evidence see ' Jour- 200. 
nal of Horticulture,' Dec. 9th, 1862, p. 109 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1S5S, p. 173. 



or present intermediate states. 110 A variety raised by Mr. Myatt," 1 
apparently belonging to one of the American forms, presents a va- 
riation of an opposite nature, for it has five leaves ; Godron and 
Lambertye also mention a five-leaved variety of F. collina. 

The Red Bush Alpine strawberry (one of the F. vesca section) does 
not produce stolons or runners, and this remarkable deviation of 
structure is reproduced truly by seed. Another sub-variety, the 
"White Bush Alpine, is similarly characterised, but when propagated 
by seed it often degenerates and produces plants with runners. 1 " 
A strawberry of the American Pine section is also said to make but 
few runners. 113 

Much has been written on the sexes of strawberries ; the true 
Hautbois properly bears the male and female organs on separate 
plants, 114 and was consequently named by Duchesne dioica ; but it 
frequently produces hermaphrodites ; and Lindley, 115 by propagat- 
ing 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 varie- 
ties, which in this country are free from any such tendency, when 
cultivated in rich soils under the climate of North America 118 com- 
monly produce plants with separate sexes. Thus a whole acre of 
Keen's Seedlings in the United States has been observed to be al- 
most 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 in- 
vestigate this subject, report that " few varieties have the flowers 
perfect in both sexual organs," &c. The most successful cultivators 
hi Ohio, plant for every seven rows of " pistillata," or female plants, 
one row of hermaphrodites, which afford pollen for both kinds ; but 
the hermaphrodites, owing to their expenditure in the production of 
pollen, bear less fruit than the female plants. 

The varieties differ in constitution. Some of our best English 
kinds, such as Keen's Seedlings, are too tender for certain parts of 
North America, where other English and many American varieties 
succeed perfectly. That splendid fruit, the British Queen, can be 
cultivated but in few places either in England or France ; but this 

110 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. i. p' p. 210. 

161. 115 ' Gardener's Cliron.,' 1S47, p. 539. 

111 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1S51, p. 440. 116 For the several statements with 
1 1 - F. Gloede, in ' Gardener's Chron.,' respect to the American strawberries, see 

1S62, p. 1053. Downing, 'Fruits,' p. 524 ; 'Gardener's 

H3 Downing's ' Fruits,' p. 532. Chronicle,' 1S43, p. 1SS; 1S4T, p. 539; 

in Barnet, in 'Hort. Transact.,' vol. vl. 1861, p. 717. 

426 FKUITS. Chap. X, 

apparently depends more on the nature of the soil than on the cli- 
mate : a famous gardener says that " no mortal could grow the 
British Queen at Shrubland Park unless the whole nature of the soil 
was altered." m La Constantina is one of the hardiest kinds, and 
can withstand Russian winters, but is easily burnt by the sun, so 
that it will not succeed in certain soils either in England or the 
United States. 119 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." 11D 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 ex- 
actly 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 (Bibes 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 Eu- 
rope ; therefore it will be desirable briefly to specify all the points, 
though not very important, which have varied. If it be admitted 
that these differences are due to culture, authors perhaps will not 
be so ready to assume the existence of a large number of unknown 
wild parent-stocks for our other cultivated plants. The gooseberry 
is not alluded to by writers of the classical period. Turner men- 
tions it in 1573, and Parkinson, in 1629, specifies eight varieties ; 
the Catalogue of the Horticultural Society for 1842 gives 149 varie- 
ties, and the lists of the Lancashire nurserymen are said to include 
above 300 names. 121 In the ' Gooseberry Grower's Register for 1862 ' 
I find that 243 distinct varieties have 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 Horticultural Society found 
less confusion in the nomenclature of the gooseberry than of any 
other fruit, and he attributes this " to the great interest which the 
prize-growers have taken in detecting sorbs with wrong names," and 

i" Mr. D. Beaton, in ' Cottage Gar- lia Mr. H. Doubleday in ' Gardener's 

dener,' 1860, p. 86. See also ' Cottage Chron.,' 1862, p. 1101. 

Gardener,' 1S55, p. 88, and many other i 2 ° ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1851, p. 

authorities. For the Continent, see F. 254. 

Gloede, in ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S62, 121 Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Gardening,' 

p. 1053. p. 930 ; and Alph. de Candolle, ' Geo- 

118 Rev. W. F. Radclyffe, in ' Journal graph. Bot.,' p. 910. 
of Hort.,' March 14, 1865, p. 207. 


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 spread- 
ing, or pendulous. The periods of leafing and flowering differ both ab- 
solutely 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 mid gooseberry, I may remark, are smooth, with the exception 
of thorns at the bases of the buds. The thorns themselves are 
either very small, few and single, or very large and triple ; they 
are sometimes reflexed and much dilated at their bases. In the dif- 
ferent varieties the fruit varies in abundance, in the period of matu- 
rity, in hanging until shrivelled, and greatly in size, " some sorts 
having their fruit large during a very early period of growth, 
whilst others are small until nearly ripe." The fruit varies also 
much in colour, being red, yellow, green, and white — the pulp of 
one dark-red gooseberry being tinged with yellow ; in flavour ; in 
being smooth or downy, — few, however, of the Red gooseberries, 
whilst many of the so-called Whites, arc downy ; or in being so 
spinose that one kind is called Henderson's Porcupine. Two kinds 
acquire when mature a powdery bloom on their fruit. The fruit 
varies in the thickness and veining of the skin, and, lastly, in shape, 
being spherical, oblong, oval, or obovate. 123 

I cultivated fifty-four varieties, and, considering how greatly the 
fruit differs, it was curious how closely similar the flowers were 
in all these kinds. In only a few I detected a trace of difference in 
the size or colour of the corolla. The calyx differed in a rather 
greater degree, for in some kinds it was much redder than in others ; 
and in one smooth white gooseberry it was unusually red. The 
calyx also differed in the basal part being smooth or woolly, or 
covered with glandular hairs. It deserves notice, as being contrary 
to what might have been expected from the law of correlation, that 
a smooth red gooseberry had *a remarkably hairy calyx. The 
flowers of the Sportsman are furnished with very large coloured 
bractere ; and this is the most singular deviation of structure which 

122 Loudon's 'Gardener's Magazine,' ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. i., 2nd series, 
vol. iv. 1SJJS, p. 112. 1S35, p. 21S, from which most of the fore- 

123 The fullest account of the goose- going facts are given, 
herry is given by Mr. Thompson in 

42 S FRUITS. Chap. X. 

I have observed. These same flowers also varied niuch in tho 
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 Pas- 
time 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 metro- 
polis 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 published annually ; the earliest known copy 
is dated 1786, but it is certain that meetings for the adjudication of 
prizes were held some years previously. 125 The ' Register ' for 1845 
gives an account of 171 Gooseberry Shows, held in different places 
during that year ; and this fact shows on how large a scale the cul- 
ture has been carried on. The fruit of the wild gooseberry is said 128 
to weigh about a quarter of an ounce or 5 dwts., that is, 120 grs. ; 
about the year 1786 gooseberries were exhibited weighing 10 dwts., 
so that the weight was then doubled ; in 1817 26 dwts. 17 grs. was 
attained ; there was no advance till 1825, when 31 dwts. 16 grs. was 
reached ; in 1830 " Teazer " weighed 32 dwts. 13 grs. ; in 1841 
" Wonderful " weighed 32 dwts. 16 grs. ; in 1844 " London " weighed 
35 dwts. 12 grs., and in the following year 36 dwts. 16 grs. ; and in 
1852 in Staffordshire the fruit of this same variety reached the 
astonishing weight of 37 dwts. 7 grs., 127 or 895 grs. ; that is, be- 
tween 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 

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 

144 ' Catalogue of Fruits of Hort, Soc. 126 Downing's Fruits of Amer.,' p. 213. 

Garden,' 3rd edit. 1S42. 127 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S44, p. 

125 Mr. Clarkson, of Manchester, on SU, where a table is given ; and 1S45, p. 

the Culture of the Gooseberry, in Lou- 819. For the extreme weights gained, 

don's ' Gardener's Magazine,' vol. iv. see. ' Journal of Horticulture,' July 26, 

1S2S, p. 4S2. * 1S64, p. 61. 

Chap. X. AVALNUTS. 429 

made, the soil is mulched, and only a few berries are left on each 
bush ; I2S but the increase no doubt is in main part due to the con- 
tinued selection of seedlings which have been found to be more and 
more capable of yielding such extraordinary fruit. Assuredly the 
"Highwayman " in 1817 could not have produced fruit like that of 
the "Roaring Lion" in 1825; nor could the "Roaring Lion," 
though it was grown by many persons in many places, gain the 
supreme triumph achieved in 1852 by the "London" Gooseberry. 

Walnut {Juglans regia). — This tree and the common nut belong 
to a widely different order from the foregoing fruits, and are there- 
fore here noticed. The walnufr grows wild in the Caucasus and 
Himalaya, where Dr. Hooker m found the fruit of full size, but " as 
hard as a hickory-nut." In England the walnut presents consider- 
able 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 tom-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 elongated, large, thin- 
shelled nuts. 131 M. Cardan has minutely described m some singu- 
lar 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 ; but in August is in exactly the same state with them. 
These constitutional peculiarities are strictly inherited. Lastly, 
walnut-trees, which are properly monoicous, sometimes entirely fail 
to produce male flowers. 133 

Nuts {Corylus avellana). — Most botanists rank all the varieties 
under the same species, the common wild nut. 134 The husk, or in- 
volucre, differs greatly, being extremely short in Barr's Spanish, 
and extremely long in filberts, in which it is contracted so as to 

126 Mr. Saul, of Lancaster, in Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' 1S29, vol. v. p. 202. 
' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. iii. 1S28, p. 421 ; 132 Quoted in ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 

and vol. x. 1&34, p. 42. 1S49, p. 101. 

159 ' Himalayan Journals,' 1854, vol. 133 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S47, pp. 

ii. p. 834. Moorcroft (' Travels,' vol. ii. 541 and 558. 

p. 146) describes four varieties cultivated 134 The following details are taken 

in Kashmir. from the Catalogue of Fruits, 1842, in 

130 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1S50, p. Garden of Ilort. Soc, p. 103 ; and from 
723. Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Gardening,' p. 

131 Paper translated in Loudon's 943. 


prevent the nut falling out. This kind of husk also protects the 
flut from birds, for titmice (Paras) have been observed ia5 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 va- 
rieties, but is thin in Cosford's-nut, and in one variety is of a blu- 
ish 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 Cos- 
ford's, and obtusely four-sided in the Downton Square nut. 

Cueurltitaceous plants. — These plants have been for a long period 
the opprobrium of botanists ; numerous varieties have been ranked 
as species, and, what happens more rarely, forms which now must 
be considered as species have been classed as varieties. Owing to 
the admirable experimental researches of a distinguished botanist, " 
M. Naudin, 136 a flood of light has recently been thrown on this group 
of plants. M. Naudin, during many years, observed and experi- 
mented on above 1200 living specimens, collected from all "qxiarters 
of the world. Six species are now recognised in the genus Cucur- 
bita ; 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. moscltata, the water-melon. These 
three species are not known in a wild state ; but Asa Gray m gives 
good reason for believing that some pumpkins are natives of 1ST. 

These three species are closely allied, and have the same general 
habit, but their innumerable varieties can always be distinguished, 
according to Naudin, by certain almost fixed characters ; and what 
is still more important, when crossed they yield no seed, or only 
sterile seed ; whilst the varieties spontaneously intercross with the 
utmost freedom. Naudin insists strongly (p. 15), that, though these 
three species have varied greatly in many characters, yet it has 
been in so closely an analogous manner that the varieties can 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. G, 16, 35) urges, " douees d'une stabilite 
presque comparable a celle des especes les mieux caracterisees." 

«35 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1SG0, p. 956. 137 ' American Journ. of Science,' 2nd 

i 36 'Annales des Sc. Nat. Bot.,' 4th ser. vol. xxiv. 1S57, p. 442. 
series, vol. vi. 1850, p. 5. 


One variety, l'Orangin (pp. 43, 63), has suck prepotency in trans- 
mitting 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 pcrpetuer." If we 
were to trust to external differences alone, and give np 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 Kolreuter. 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) ; w r hen of small size, many are produced. 
No less astonishing (p. 33) is the variation in the shape of the fruit ; 
the typical form apparently is egg-like, but this becomes either 
drawn out into a cylinder, or shortened into a flat disc. We have 
also an almost infinite diversity in the colour and state of surface of 
the fruit, in the hardness botk of tke 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 millimetres 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 ten- 
drils 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. 

138 Gartner, 'Bastarderzeugung,' 1S49, s. 137. With respect to Nicotiana, see 

a. 87, and s. 109 with respect to M.iize ; Kolreuter, ' Zweite Forts.,' 1764, s. 53 

on Verbascum, idem, ss. 92 and 181 ; though this is a somewhat different 

also his ' Kenntniss der- Befruchtung,' case. 


Those naturalists who believe in the immutability of species often 
maintain that, even in the most variable forms, the characters 
which they consider of specific value are unchangeable. To give 
an example from a conscientious writer, 139 who, relying on the 
labours of M. Naudin and referring to the species of Cucurbita, 
says, " au milieu de toutes les variations du fruit, les tiges, les 
feuilles, les calices, les corolles, les etamines restent in variables 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. Nean- 
moins, je crois qu'on la distinguera toujours facilement des deux 
autres especes, si Ton veut ne pas perdre de vue les caracteres dif- 
ferentiels 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 immutability of the so-called 
specific characters, this paragraph produces on the mind, from that 
above quoted from M. Godron. 

I will add another remark : naturalists continually assert that no 
important organ varies ; but in saying this they unconsciously argue 
in a vicious circle ; for if an organ, let it be what it may, is highly 
variable, it is regarded as unimportant, and under a systematic point 
of view this is quite correct. But as long as constancy is thus taken 
as the criterion of importance, it will indeed be long before an im- 
portant 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 Gas- 
parini to separate certain pumpkins as a distinct genus ; but Naudin 
says (p. 20) these parts have no constancy, and in the flowers of the 
Turban varieties of C. maxima they sometimes resume their ordi- 
nary structure. Again in C. maxima, the carpels (p. 19) which form 
the Turban project even as much as two-thirds of their length out 
of the receptacle, and this latter part is thus reduced to a sort of 
platform ; but this remarkable structure occurs only in certain va- 
rieties, 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 sphe- 
rical, or cylindrical, more or less swollen in the upper part, or con- 
stricted round the middle, and either straight or curved. When the 
ovarium is short and oval the interior structure does not differ from 

>39 <D e TEspec^' par M. Godron, torn. ii. p. 64. 


that of 0. maxima &m\pcpo, but when it is elongated the carpels oc- 
cupy only the terminal and swollen portion. I may add that in one 
variety of the cucumber (Cucumis satieus) the fruit regularly con- 
tains 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 "' and Naudin found that the cucumber (C. sativus) could 
not be crossed with any other species of the genus ; therefore no 
doubt it is specifically distinct from the melon. This will appear to 
most persons a superfluous statement ; yet we hear from Naudin m 
that there is a race of melons, in which the fruit is so like that of 
the cucumber, " both externally and internally, that it is hardly 
possible to distinguish the one from the other except by the leaves." 
The varieties of the melon seem to be endless, for Naudin after six 
years' study has not come to the end of them : he divides them into 
ten sections, including numerous sub-varieties which all intercross 
with perfect ease." 3 Of the forms considered by Naudin to be va- 
rieties, 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 ride, is the most mo- 
dified 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 some- 
times more than a yard in length, " twisting about in all directions 
like a serpent." It is a singular fact that in this latter variety many 
parts of the plant, namely, the stems, the footstalks of the female 
flowers, the middle lobe of the leaves, and especially the ovarium, 
as well as the mature fruit, all show a strong tendency to become 
elongated. Several varieties of the melon are interesting from as- 
suming the characteristic features of distinct species and even of 
distinct though allied genera : thus the serpent-melon has some re- 

•*° Naudin, in * Annal. des Sci. Nat.,' 1135. I have also consulted and taken 

4th ser. Bot. torn. si. 1S59, p. 23. some facts from M. Naudiu's Memoir on 

i* 1 'Memoire sur les Cucurbitacees,' Cucumis in 'Annal. des Sc. Nat.,' 4th 

1S2G, pp. 6, 24. series, Bot. torn. xi. 1^9, p. 5. 

i«» ' Klnre des Serres,' Oct. 1861, quot- li3 See also Sageret's 'Memoire,' 

ed in ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1SG1, p. p. 7. 

434 TREES. Chap. X. 

semblance to the fruit of Tricliosanthes anguina ; we have seen that 
other varieties closely resemble cucumbers ; some Egyptian varie- 
ties 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 sponta- 
neous and almost sudden dislocation," when deep cracks suddenly 
appear, and the fruit falls to pieces ; and this occurs with the wild 
C. momordica. Finally, M. Naudin well remarks that this " extra- 
ordinary production of races and varieties by a single species, and 
their permanence when not interfered with by crossing, are pheno- 
mena well calculated to cause reflection." 

Useful and Ornamental Trees. 

Trees deserve a passing notice on account of the numerous varie- 
ties which they present, differing in their precocity, in their manner 
of growth, foliage, and bark. Thus of the common ash (Fraxinua 
excelsior) the catalogue of Messrs. Lawson of Edinburgh includes 
twenty-one varieties, some of which differ much in their bark ; there 
is a yellow, a streaked reddish- white, a purple, a wart-barked and a 
fungous-barked variety. 144 Of hollies no less than eighty-four va- 
rieties are grown alongside each other in Mr. Paul's nursery. 145 In 
the case of trees, all the recorded varieties, as far as I can find out, 
have been suddenly produced by one single act of variation. The 
length of time required to raise many generations, and the little 
value set on the fanciful varieties, explains how it is that successive 
modifications have not been accumulated by selection ; hence, also 
it follows that we do not here meet with sub-varieties subordinate 
to varieties, and these again subordinate to higher groups. On the 
Continent, however, where the forests are more carefully attended 
to than in England, Alph. De Candolle " 8 says that there is not a 
forester who does not search for seeds from that variety which he 
esteems the most valuable. 

Our useful trees have seldom been exposed to any great change 
of conditions ; they have not been richly manured, and the English 
kinds grow under their proper climate. Yet in examining extensive 
beds of seedlings in nursery-gardens considerable differences may 
be generally observed in them ; and whilst touring in England I 
have been surprised at the amount of difference in the appearance 
of the same species in our hedgerows and woods. But as plants 

144 Loudoa's 'Arboretum et Frutice- 145 ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1S66, p. 1096. 

turn,' vol. ii. p. 1217. 146 ' Geograph. Bot,,' p. 1096. 

Chap. X. TREES. • 435 

vary so much in a truly wild state, it would be difficult for even a 
skilful botanist to pronounce whether, as I believe to be the case, 
hedgerow trees vary more than those growing in a primeval forest. 
Trees when planted by man in woods or hedges do not grow where 
they would naturally be able to hold their place against a host of 
competitors, and are therefore exposed to conditions not strictly 
natural : even this slight change would probably suffice to cause 
seedlings raised from such trees to be variable. Whether or not our 
half-wild English trees, as a general rule, are more variable than 
trees growing in their native forests, there can hardly be a doubt 
that they have yielded a greater number of strongly marked and 
singular variations of structure. 

In manner of growth, we have weeping or pendulous varieties of 
the willow, ash, elm, oak, and yew, and other trees ; and this weep- 
ing habit is sometimes inherited, though in a singularly capricious 
manner. In the Lombardy poplar, and in certain fastigate or pyra- 
midal varieties of thorns, junipers, oaks, &c, we have an opposite 
kind of growth. The Hessian oak, 147 which is famous from its fasti- 
gate habit and size, bears hardly any resemblance in general appear- 
ance 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 distinct." 8 The 
fastigate Juniper (J. sueciea) likewise transmits its character by 
seed." 9 Dr. Falconer informs me that in the Botanic Gardens at 
Calcutta the great heat causes apple-trees to become fastigate ; and 
we thus see the same result following from the effects of climate and 
from an innate spontaneous tendency. 160 

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 some- 
times 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 repro- 

11T ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1842, p. 86. 151 ' Journal of a Horticultural Tour, 

148 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- by Caledonian Hort. Soc.,' 1823, p. 107 
cetum,' vol. iii. p. 1781. Alph. De Candolle, 'Geograph. Bot.,' p. 

149 Ibid., vol. iv. p. 2489. 1083. Verlot, ' Sur la Production des 

150 Godron (' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. Varietes,' 1S65, p. 55, for the Barberry. 
91) describes four varieties of Robinia 15a Loudon's ' Arboretum et Frutice- 
remarkable from their manner of growth. turn,' vol. ii. p. 60S. 

436 TKEES. Chap. X. 

duce themselves by seed. 155 This is to a certain extent the case, ac- 
cording to Bosc, 154 with three varieties of the elm, namely, the broad- 
leafed, lime-leafed, and twisted elm, in which latter the fibres of the 
wood are twisted. Even with the heterophyllous hornbeam {Car- 
pinus betulus), which bears on each twig leaves of two shapes, 
" several plants raised from seed all retained the same peculiarity." m 
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 cha- 
racter by seed. 15 " The occurrence, in trees belonging to widely dif- 
ferent 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 con- 
sidered 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.™ 

Every one must have noticed how certain individual trees regular- 
ly 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 leafing so much earlier than the others. There 
is also an oak near Edinburgh, which retains its leaves to a very late 
period. These differences have been attributed by some authors to 
the nature of the soil in which the trees grow ; but Archbishop 
Whately grafted an early thorn on a late one, and vice versd, and 
both grafts kept to their proper periods, which differed by about a 
fortnight, as if they still grew on their own stocks. 168 There is a 
Cornish variety of the elm which is almost an evergreen, and is so 

us Vevlot, 'Des Varietes,' 1865, p. 92. xii. 1836, p. 371, a variegated bushy ash 

154 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Frutice- is described and figured, as having sim- 
tum,' vol. iii. p. 1376. pie leaves ; it originated in Ireland. 

155 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. "7 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1861, p. 575. 
687. li8 Quoted from Royal Irish Academy 

166 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. in ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1841, p. 767. 
69. In Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag., vol. 

Chap. X. TREES. 437 

tender that the shoots are often killed by the frost ; and the varie- 
ties of the Turkish oak (Q. cerris) may be arranged as deciduous, 
sub-evergreen, and evergreen. 169 

Scotch Fir (Pi mis syJvestris). — I allude to this tree as it hears on 
the question of the greater variability of our hedgerow trees com- 
] and with those under strictly natural conditions. A well-informed 
writer 160 states that the Scotch fir presents few varieties in its na- 
tive Scotch forests ; but that it " varies much in figure and foliage, 
" and in the size, shape, and colour of its cones, when several gen- 
" erations 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 tndy by 
seed ; thus justifying Loudon's remark, that " a variety is often of 
as much importance as a species, and sometimes far more so." m I 
may mention one rather important point in which this tree occa- 
sionally varies ; in the classification of the Coniferae, 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 en- 
closed, but specimens have been observed with groups of three 
leaves in a sheath. 162 Besides these differences in the semi-culti- 
vated Scotch fir, there are in several parts of Europe natural or geo- 
graphical races, which have been ranked by some authors as dis- 
tinct species. "■ Loudon 101 considers P. pumilio, with its several 
sub-varieties, as Mitghus, 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, Loudon 165 enumerates 
twenty-nine well-marked varieties. Besides those cultivated for 
their pretty flowers, there are others with golden-yellow, black, and 
whitish berries ; others with woolly berries, and others with re- 
carved thorns. Loudon truly remarks that the chief reason why 

159 Loudon's ' Arboretum et Frutice- paischer Pinus-arten von Dr. Christ: 

turn:' for Elm, see vol. ill. p. 13TC; for Flora, 1S64.' He shows that in the Ober- 

Oak, p. 1S46. Engadin P. sylvestris and montana are 

i«o ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1849, p. connected by intermediate links. 

822. 164 ' Arboretum et Fruticetum,' vol. 

161 ' Arboretum et Fruticetum,' vol. iv. iv. pp. 1159 and 21S9. 

p. 2150. "5 ibid., vol. ii. p. 830; Loudon'a 

182 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1S52, p. 693. 'Gardener's Magazine,' vol. vi. 1830, p. 

163 See ' Beitriige zur Kentniss Euro- 714. 

438 FLOWERS. Chap. X. 

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 circum- 
stance alone would render it difficult to detect the differences due to 
variation. For instance, our Roses, 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 re- 
quire 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 com- 
mencement of the season, others at the close ; one variety is 
known, 170 which will stand " even pine-apple top and bottom heat, 

104 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Frutice- ise Ibid., vol. xi. 1835, p. 503. 

turn, 1 vol. ii. p. S34. is 9 ■ Gardener's Chron.,' 1845, p. 623. 

laT Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. 17 ° D. Beaton, in ' Cottage Gardener,' 

ix. 1833, p. 123. 1860, p. 3T7. See also Mr. Beck, on the 

c.iap. x. FLOWERS. 439 

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 hulbs, and to rest all summer." 
These odd constitutional peculiarities would fit a plant when grow- 
ing in a state of nature for widely different circumstances and 

Flowers possess little interest under our present point of view, 
because 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 fiowercan 
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 dotible flow r ers. 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 Composite, 
the corollas of the central florets are greatly modified, and the modifi- 
cations are likewise inherited. In the columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) 
some of the stamens are converted into petals having the shape of 
nectaries, one neatly fitting into the other ; but in one variety they 
are converted into simple petals. 171 In the hose and hose primula?, 
the calyx becomes brightly coloured and enlarged so^as to resemble 
a corolla ; and Mr. W. Wooler informs me that this peculiarity is 
transmitted ; for he crossed a common polyanthus with one having 
a coloured calyx, 172 and some of the seedlings inherited the coloured 
calyx during at least six generations. In the " hen-and-chicken " 
daisy the main flower is surrounded by a brood of small flowers de- 
veloped from buds in the axils of the scales of the involucre. A 
wonderful poppy has been described, in which the stamens are con- 
verted into pistils ; and so strictly was this peculiarity inherited that, 
out of 154 seedlings, one alone reverted to the ordinary and common 
type. 173 Of the cock's-comb (Celosia cviitata), which is an annual, 
there are several races in which the flower-stem is wonderfully 
" fasciated" or compressed ; and one has been exhibited 171 actually 
eighteen inches in breadth. Peloric races of Gloxinia speciosa and 

habits of Queen Mab, in ' Gardener's p. 133. 

Chronicle,' 1S45, p. 226. m Quoted by Alph. de Candolle, 

171 Moquin-Tandon, 'Elements de 'Bibl. Univ.,' November, 1S62, p. 5S. 

Teratologic,' 1S41, p. 213. 174 Knight, ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. 

178 See also ' Cottage Gardener,' 1860, iv. p. 322. 

440 FLOWERS. Chap. X. 

AntirrJrinum majus can be propagated by seed, and they differ in a 
wonderful manner from the typical form both in structure and ap- 

A much more remarkable modification has been recorded by Sir 
William and Dr. Hooker m 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 per- 
fect hermaphrodite structure ; and in these flowers the perianth was 
inferior. To show the importance of this modification under a classi- 
ficatory point of view, I may quote what Prof. Harvey says, namely, 
that had it " occurred in a state of nature, and had a botanist col- 
lected a plant with such flowers, he would not only have 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 
Aristolochiace*. The interest of the case is largely added to by Mr. 
C. W. Crocker's observation that seedlings from the normal flowers 
produced plants which bore*, in about the same proportion as the 
parent-plant, hermaphrodite flowers having inferior perianths. The 
hermaphrodite flowers fertilised with their own pollen were sterile. 

If florists had attended to, selected, and propagated by seed other 
modifications of structure besides those which are beautiful, a host 
of curious varieties would certainly have been raised ; and they 
would probably have transmitted their characters so truly that the 
cultivator would have felt aggrieved, as in the case of culinary 
vegetables, if his whole bed had not presented a uniform appearance. 
Florists have attended in some instances to the leaves of their plant, 
and have thus produced the most elegant and symmetrical patterns 
of white, red, and green, Avhich, as in the case of the pelargonium, are 
sometimes strictly inherited. 176 Any one who will habitually examine 
highly-cultivated flowers in gardens and greenhouses •will observe 
numerous deviations in structure ; but most of these must be ranked 
as mere monstrosities, and are only so far interesting as showing 
how plastic the organisation becomes under high cultivation. From 

175 ' Botanical Magazine,' tab. 5160, Bot.,' p. 1083; 'Gard. Chronicle,' 1861, 
fig. 4 ; Dr. Hooker, in ' Gardener's p. 433. The inheritance of the white 
Chron.,' 1860, p. 190 ; Prof. Harvey, in and golden zones in Pelargonium largely 
'Gardener's Chron.,' I860, p. 145 : Mr. depends on the nature of the soil. See 
Crocker, in 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1861, D. Beaton, in ' Journal of Horticulture,' 
p. 1092. 1861, p. 64. 

176 Alph. de Candolle, ' Geograph. 

Chap. X. FLOWERS. 441 

this point of view such works as Professor Moquin-Tandon'a ' Tera- 
tologic ' are highly instructive. 

Roses. — These flowers offer an instance of a number of forms 
generally ranked as species, namely, R. centifolia, gallica, alba, da- 
mascena, spinosissima, bracteata, Indica, scmpcrfiorens, moschata, &c, 
which have largely varied and been intercrossed. The genus Rosa 
is a notoriously difficult one, and though some of the above forms 
are admitted by all botanists to be distinct species, others are doubt- 
ful ; thus, with respect to the British forms, Babington makes seven- 
teen, and Bentham only five species. The hybrids from some of the 
most distinct forms — for instance, from R. Indica, fertilised by the 
pollen of R. centifolia — produce an abundance of seed ; I state this 
on the authority of Mr. Rivers, 277 from whose work I have drawn 
most of the following statements. As almost all the aboriginal 
forms brought from different countries have been crossed and re- 
crossed, it is no wonder that Targioni-Tozzetti, in speaking of the 
common roses of the Italian gardens, remarks that " the native 
coxintry and precise form of the wild type of most of them are in- 
volved in much uncertainty." 178 Nevertheless Mr. Rivers in refer- 
ring to R. Indica (p. 68) says that the descendants of each group 
may generally be recognised by a close observer. The same author 
often speaks of roses as having been a little hybridised ; but it is 
evident that in very many cases the differences due to variation and 
to hybridisation can now only be conjecturally distinguished. 

The species have varied both by seed and by buds ; such modified 
buds being often called by gardeners sports. In the following chap- 
ter 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 pecu- 
liar character, however produced, if it yields seed, Mr. Rivers (p. 4) 
fully expects it to become the parent-type of a new family. The 
tendency to vary is so strong in some kinds, as in the Village Maid 
(Rivers, p. 16), that when grown in different soils it varies so much 
in colour that it has been thought to form several distinct kinds. 
Altogether the number of kinds is very great : thus M. Desportes, 
in his Catalogue for 1829, enumerates 2562 as cultivated in France ; 
but no doubt a large proportion of these are merely nominal. 

It would be useless to specify the many points of difference be- 
tween the various kinds, but some constitutional peculiarities may 
be mentioned. Several French roses (Rivers, p. 12) will not succe