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













LITY 15-50 









Pages 51-67 
















pigeons — continued. 







parts — correlation of growth Pages 236-289 








SILK-MOTHS, species and breeds of — anciently domesticated 





PRELIMINARY REMARKS on the number and parentage op 


CEREAL1A. — doubts on the number of species. wheat: 




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






plants continued — fruits — ornamental trees — 

















summary Pages 397-444 







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


2. Head of Japan or Masked Pig 73 

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

of the Yorkshire large breed 75 

4. Old Irish Pig with jaw-appendages 79 

5. Half-lop Rabbit 112 

6. Skull of Wild Rabbit 122 

7. Skull of large Lop-eared Eabbit 122 

8. Part of Zygomatic Arch, showing the projecting end 

of the malar bone of the auditory meatus, of 

Rabbits 123 

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

bone, of Rabbits 123 

10. Occipital Foramen of Rabbits 123 

11. Skull of Half-lop Rabbit 124 

12. Atlas Vertebra of Rabbits 126 

13. Third Cervical Vertebra of Rabbits 127 

14. Dorsal Vertebrae, from sixth to tenth inclusive, of 

Rabbits .. .. 128 

15. Terminal Bone of Sternum of Rabbits 128 

16. Acromion of Scapula of Rabbits 129 

17. The Rock-Pigeon, or Columba Livia 141 

18. English Pouter 144 

19. English Carrier 147 

20. English Barb 152' 

21. English Fantail 154 

22. African Owl 157 

23. Short-faced English Tumbler 16( 



24. Skulls of Pigeons, viewed laterally 172 

25. Lower Jaws of Pigeons, seen from above .. .. .. 173 

26. Skull of Runt, seen from above 174 

27. Lateral view of Jaws of Pigeons 174 

28. Scapula of Pigeons .. 176 

29. Furcula of Pigeons 176 

30. Spanish Fowl 238 

31. Hamburgh Fowl 239 

32. Polish Fowl 240 

33. Occipital Foramen of the Skulls of Fowls .. .. 274 

34. Skulls of Fowls, viewed from above, a little ob- 

liquely .. 275 

35. Longitudinal sections of Skulls of Fowls, viewed 

laterally 277 

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

obliquely 279 

37 Sixth Cervical Vertebra of Fowls, viewed laterally 281 

38. Extremity of the Furcula of Fowls, viewed later- 

ally 282 

39. Skulls of Ducks, viewed laterally, reeuced to two- 


40. Cervical Vertebra of Ducks, of natural size ... .. 298 

41. Pods of the Common Pea 347 

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

edgeways 358 

43. Plum Stones, of natural size, viewed laterally .. 366 

( xiii ) 



Vol. I. 

Vol. J. 1 

































Vol. II. 



Dr. Burt Wilcler's observations on the brains of 

different breeds of the Dog. 
Degeneracy of Dogs imported into Guinea. 
Difference in the number of the lumbar vertebrae in 

the races or species of the Horse. 
Hairy appendages to the throats of Goats. 
Sexual differences in colour in the domestic Pigeon. 
Movements like those of the Tumbler-pigeon, 

caused by injury to the brain. 
Additional facts with respect to the Black-shouldered 

Ancient selection of Gold-fish in China. 
Major Hallett's ' Pedigree Wheat.' 
The common radish descended from Bapha?ias raph- 

Several additional cases of bud- variation given. 
An abstract of all the cases recently published of 

graft-hybrids in the potato, together with a gene- 
ral summary on graft-hybridisation. 
An erroneous statement with respect to the pollen 

of the date-palm affecting the fruit of the Cham- 

aerops omitted. 
New cases of the direct action of pollen on the 

Additional and remarkable instances of the action 

of the male parent on the future progeny of the 

An erroneous statement corrected, with respect to 

the regrowth of supernumerary digits after am- 

( xi v ) 


( Continued.') 

Vol. II. 

Vol. I. 









Vol. II. 











































Additional facts with respect to the inherited effects 
of circumcision. 

Dr. Brown-Sequard on the inherited effects of opera- 
tions on the Guinea-pig. 

Other cases of inherited mutilations. 

An additional case of reversion due to a cross. 

Inheritance as limited by sex. 

Two varieties of maize which cannot be crossed. 

Some additional facts on the advantages of cross- 
breeding in animals. 

Discussion on the effects of close interbreeding in 
the case of man. 

Additional cases of plants sterile with pollen from 
the same plant. 

Mr. Sclater on the infertility of animals under con- 

The Aperea a distinct species from the Guinea-pig. 

Prof. Jager on hawks killing light-coloured pigeons. 

Prof. Weismann on the effects of isolation in the 
development of species. 

The direct action of the conditions of life in causing 

Mr. Romanes on rudimentary parts. 

Some additional cases of correlated variability. 

On Geoffroy St. Hilaire's law of " soi pour soi" 
The chapter on Pangenesis has been largely altered 
and re-modelled; but the essential principles re- 
main the same. 





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

The subjects discussed in this volume are so connected that 
it is not a little difficult to decide how they can be best arranged. 
I have determined in the first part to give, under the heads of 
the various animals and plants, a large body of facts, some 
of which may at first appear but little related to our subject, 
and to devote the latter part to general discussions. When- 
ever I have found it necessary to give numerous details, in 
support of any proposition or conclusion, small type has been 


used. Tlie reader will, I think, find this plan a convenience; 
for, if he does not doubt the conclusion or care about the 
details, he can easily pass them over ; yet I may be permitted 
* to say that some of the discussions thus printed deserve 
attention, at least from the professed naturalist. 

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

From a remote period, in all parts of the world, man has 
subjected many animals and plants to domestication or culture. 
Man has no power of altering the absolute conditions of life : 
he cannot change the climate of any country ; he adds no new 
element to the soil ; but he can remove an animal or plant 
from one climate or soil to another, and give it food on which 
it did not subsist in its natural state. It is an error to speak 
of man " tampering with nature " and causing variability. If 
a man drops a piece of iron into sulphuric acid, it cannot be 
said strictly that he makes the sulj)hate of iron, he only 
allows their elective affinities to come into play. If organic 
beings had not possessed an inherent tendency to vary, man 
could have done nothing. 2 He unintentionally exposes his 
animals and plants to various conditions of life, and varia- 
bility supervenes, which he cannot even prevent or check. 
Consider the simple case of a plant which has been cultivated 
during a long time in its native country, and which conse- 
quently has not been subjected to any change of climate. It 
has been protected to a certain extent from the competing 
roots of plants of other kinds ; it has generally been grown in 
manured soil ; but probably not richer than that of many an 

.* To any one who has attentively tinued ill-health, 
read my 'Origin of Species' this Intro- 2 M. Pouchet has recently (' Plural- 

duction will be superfluous. As I ity of Races,' Eng. Translat., 1864, p. 

stated in that work that I should 83, &c.) insisted that variation under 

soon publish the facts on which the domestication throws no light on the 

conclusions given in it were founded, natural modification of species. J 

I here beg permission to remark that cannot perceive the force of his ar#u- 

the great delay in publishing this ments, or, to speak more accuraW.v, 

first work has been caused bv con- of his assertions to this effect. 


alluvial flat ; and lastly, it has been exposed to changes in its 
conditions, being grown sometimes in one district and some- 
times in another, in different soils. Under such circumstances, 
scarcely a plant can be named, though cultivated in the rudest 
manner, which has not given birth to several varieties. It can 
hardly be maintained that during the many changes which this 
earth has undergone, and during the natural migrations of 
plants from one land or island to another, tenanted by different 
species, that such plants will not often have been subjected to 
changes in their conditions analogous to those which almost 
inevitably cause cultivated plants to vary. No doubt man 
selects varying individuals, sows their seeds, and again selects 
their varying offspring. But the initial variation on which 
man works, and without which he can do nothing, is caused 
by slight changes in the conditions of life, which must often 
have occurred under nature. Man, therefore, may be said to 
have been trying an experiment on a gigantic scale ; and it 
is an experiment which nature during the long lapse of time 
has incessantly tried. Hence it follows that the principles 
of domestication are important for us. The main result 
is that organic beings thus treated have varied largely, 
and the variations have been inherited. This has ap- 
parently been one chief cause of the belief long held by some 
few naturalists that species in a state of nature undergo 

I shall in this volume treat, as fully as my materials permit, 
the whole subject of variation under domestication. We may 
thus hope to obtain some light, little though it be, on the 
causes of variability, — on the laws which govern it, such as the 
direct action of climate and food, the effects of use and disuse, 
and of correlation of growth, — and on the amount of change to 
which domesticated organisms are liable. We shall learn 
something of the laws of inheritance, of the effects of crossing 
different breeds, and on that sterility which often supervenes 
when organic beings are removed from their natural 
conditions of life, and likewise when they are too closely 
interbred. During this investigation we shall see that the 
principle of Selection is highly important. Although man does 
not cause variability and cannot even prevent it, he can select, 


preserve, and accumulate the variations given to him by the 
hand of nature almost in any way which he chooses ; and 
thus he can certainly produce a great result. Selection may 
be followed either methodically and intentionally, or uncon- 
sciously and unintentionally. Man may select and preserve 
each successive variation, with the distinct intention of im- 
proving and altering a breed, in accordance with a precon- 
ceived idea; and by thus adding up variations, often so 
slight as to be imperceptible by an uneducated eye, he has 
effected wonderful changes and improvements. It can, also, 
be clearly shown that man, without any intention or thought 
of improving the breed, by preserving in each successive 
generation the individuals which he prizes most, and by 
destroying the worthless individuals, slowly, though surely, 
induces great changes. As the will of man thus comes 
into play, we can understand how it is that domesticated 
breeds show adaptation to his wants and pleasures. We 
can further understand how it is that domestic races of 
animals and cultivated races of plants often exhibit an 
abnormal character, as compared with natural species ; for 
they have been modified not for their own benefit, but for 
that of man. 

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

But it may be urged, granting that organic beings in a state 
of nature present seme varieties, — that their organization is 


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

This problem of the conversion of varieties into species, — 
that is, the augmentation of the slight differences character- 
istic of varieties into the greater differences characteristic of 
species and genera, including the admirable adaptations of 
each being to its complex organic and inorganic conditions of 
life, — has been briefly treated in my ' Origin of Species.' It 
was there shown that all organic beings, without exception, 
tend to increase at so high a ratio, that no district, no station, 
not even the whole surface of the land or the whole ocean, 

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


would hold the progeny of a single pair after a certain number 
of generations. The inevitable result is an ever-recurrent 
Struggle for Existence. It has truly been said that all 
nature is at war ; the strongest ultimately prevail, the 
weakest fail ; and we well know that myriads of forms have 
disappeared from the face of the earth. If then organic beings 
in a state of nature vary even in a slight degree, owing to 
changes in the surrounding conditions, of which we have 
abundant geological evidence, or from any other cause; if, 
in the long course of ages, inheritable variations ever arise 
in any way advantageous to any being under its excessively 
comjDlex and changing relations of life ; and it would be a 
strange fact if beneficial variations did never arise, seeing 
how many have arisen which man has taken advantage of for 
his own profit or pleasure ; if then these contingencies ever 
occur, and I do not see how the probability of their occur- 
rence can be doubted, then the severe and often-recurrent 
struggle for existence will determine that those variations, 
however slight, which are favourable shall be preserved 
or selected, and those which are unfavourable shall be 

This preservation, during the battle for life, of varieties 
which possess any advantage in structure, constitution, or 
instinct, I have called Natural Selection ; and Mr. Herbert 
Spencer has well expressed the same idea by the Survival of 
the Fittest. The term " natural selection " is in some respects 
a bad one, as it seems to imply conscious choice ; but this 
will be disregarded after a little familiarity. No one objects 
to chemists speaking of " elective affinity ; " and certainly an 
acid has no more choice in combining with a base, than the 
conditions of life have in determining whether or not a new 
form be selected or preserved. The term is so far a good 
one as it brings into connection the production of domestic 
races by man's power of selection, and the natural preserva- 
tion of varieties and species in a state of nature. For brevity 
sake I sometimes speak of natural selection as an intelligent 
power ; — in the same way as astronomers speak of the attrac- 
tion of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets, or 
as agriculturists speak of man making domestic races by his 


power of selection. In the one case, as in the other, selection 
does nothing without variability, and this depends in some 
manner on the action of the surrounding circumstances on the 
organism. I have, also, often personified the word Nature ; 
for I have found it difficult to avoid this ambiguity ; but 
I mean by nature only the aggregate action and product 
of many natural laws, — and by laws only the ascertained 
sequence of events. 

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

As all the inhabitants of each country may be said, owing 
to their high rate of reproduction, to be striving to increase 
in numbers ; as each form comes into competition with many 
other forms in the struggle for life, — for destroy any one 
and its place will be seized by others ; as every part of the 
organization occasionally varies in some slight degree, and 
as natural selection acts exclusively by the preservation of 
variations which are advantageous under the excessively 
complex conditions to which each being is exposed, no limit 


exists to the number, singularity, and perfection of the 
contrivances and co-adaptations which may thus be pro- 
duced. 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 organiza- 
tion will in some cases be aided by habit, or by the use and 
disuse of parts, and they will be governed by the direct 
action of the surrounding physical conditions and by 
correlation of growth. 

On the principles here briefly sketched out, there is no 
innate or necessary tendency in each being to its own ad- 
vancement 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 modications of structure, and as the conditions of 
life in each area generally become more and more complex 
from the increasing number of different forms which inhabit 
it and from most of these forms acquiring a more and more 
perfect structure, we may confidently believe, that, on the 
whole, organization advances. Nevertheless a very simple 
form fitted for very simple conditions of life might remain 
for indefinite ages unaltered or unimproved ; for what would 
it profit an infusorial animalcule, for instance, or an intestinal 
worm, to become highly organized ? Members of a high group 
might even become, and this apparently has often occurred, 
fitted for simpler conditions of life ; and in this case natural 
selection would tend to simplify or degrade the organization, 
for complicated mechanism for simple actions would be useless 
or even disadvantageous. 

The arguments opposed to the theory of Natural Selection, 
have been discussed in my ' Origin of Species,' as far as the 
size of that work permitted, under the following heads : 
the difficulty in understanding how very simple organs have 
been converted by small and graduated steps into highly 
perfect and complex organs ; the marvellous facts of 


Instinct ; the whole question of Hybridity ; and, lastly, the 
absence in our known geological formations of innumerable 
links connecting all allied species. Although some of these 
difficulties are of great weight, we shall see that many of 
them are explicable on the theory of natural selection, and are 
otherwise inexplicable. 

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

It was the consideration of such large groups of facts 
as these which first led me to take up the present subject. 
When I visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, the 
Galapagos Archipelago, situated in the Pacific Ocean about 



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

Before visiting the Galapagos I had collected many animals 
whilst travelling from north to south on both sides of America, 
and everywhere, under conditions of life as different as it is 
possible to conceive. American forms were met with — species 
replacing species of the same peculiar genera. Thus it was 
when the Cordilleras were ascended, or the thick tropical 
forests penetrated, or the fresh waters of America searched. 
Subsequently I visited other countries, which in all then 


conditions of life were incomparably more like parts of South 
America, than the different parts of that continent are to 
each other ; yet in these countries, as in Australia or Southern 
Africa, the traveller cannot fail to be struck with the entire 
difference of their productions. Again the reflection was 
forced on me that community of descent from the early 
inhabitants of South America would alone explain the wide 
prevalence of American types throughout that immense 

To exhume with one's own hands the bones of extinct and 
gigantic quadrupeds brings the whole question of the 
succession of species vividly before one's mind ; and I found 
in South America great pieces of tesselated armour exactly 
like, but on a magnificent scale, that covering the pigmy 
armadillo ; I had found great teeth like those of the living- 
sloth, and bones like those of the cavy. An analogous succes- 
sion 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 closety consecutive 
formations are closely allied in structure, and we can at once 
understand the fact if they are closely allied by descent. 
The succession of the many distinct species of the same 
genus throughout the long series of geological formations 
seems to have been unbroken or continuous. New species 
come in gradually one by one. Ancient and extinct forms of 
life are often intermediate in character, like the words of a 
dead language with respect to its several offshoots or living 
tongues. All these facts seemed to me to point to descent 
with modification as the means of production of new 

The innumerable past and present inhabitants of the 
world are connected together by the most singular and 
complex affinities, and can be classed in groups under groups, 
in the i-ame manner as varieties can be classed under species 
and sub-varieties under varieties, but with much higher 
grades of difference. These complex affinities and the rules 


for classification, receive a rational explanation on the theory 
of descent, combined with the principle of natural selection, 
which entails divergence of character and the extinction of 
intermediate forms. How inexplicable is the similar pattern 
of the hand of a man, the foot of a dog, the wing of a bat, 
the flipper of a seal, on the doctrine of independent acts of 
creation ! how simply ex]3lained on the principle of the 
natural selection of successive slight variations in the 
diverging descendants from a single progenitor ! So it is 
with certain parts or organs in the same individual animal 
or plant, for instance, the jaws and legs of a crab, or the 
petals, stamens, and pistils of a flower. During the many 
changes to which in the course of time organic beings have 
been subjected, certain organs or parts have occasionally 
become at first of little use and ultimately superfluous ; and 
the retention of such parts in a rudimentary and useless 
condition is intelligible on the theory of descent. It can be 
shown that modifications of structure are generally inherited 
by the offspring at the same age at which each successive 
variation appeared in the parents ; it can further be shown 
that variations do not commonly supervene at a very early 
period of embryonic growth, and on these two principles we 
can understand that most wonderful fact in the whole circuit 
of natural history, namely, the close similarity of the embryos 
within the same great class — for instance, those of mammals, 
birds, reptiles, and fish. 

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


view accords well with Maupertuis's philosophical axiom of 
" least action." 

In considering how far the theory of natural selection 
may be extended, — that is, in determining from how many 
progenitors the inhabitants of the world have descended, — 
we may conclude that at least all the members of the same 
class have descended from a single ancestor. A number of 
organic beings are included in the same class, because they 
present, independently of their habits of life, the same funda- 
mental 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 earl} 7 embryonic age. 
These facts can be explained on the belief of their descent from 
a common form ; therefore it may be safely admitted that all 
the members of the same class are descended from one pro- 
genitor. But as the members of quite distinct clashes have 
something in common in structure and much in common in 
constitution, analogy would lead us one step further, and to 
infer as probable that all living creatures are descended from 
a single prototype. 

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



the theory, because it collects, under one point of view, and 
gives a rational explanation of, many apparently independent 
classes of facts. 4 

4 In treating the several subjects 
included in the present and my other 
works 1 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. With- 
out such aid I could have effected 
little. I have repeatedly applied 
for information and specimens to 

foreigners, and to British merchants 
and officers of the Government re- 
siding in distant lands, and, with the 
rarest exceptions, I have received 
prompt, open-handed, and valuable 
assistance. I cannot express too 
strongly my obligations to the many 
persons who have assisted me, and 
who, I am convinced, would be 
equally willing to assist others in 
any scientific investigation. 

Chat. I. 









Tff^ first and chief point of interest in this chapter is, whether 
the numerous domesticated varieties of the dog have descended 
from a single wild species, or from several. Some authors 
believe that all have descended from the wolf, or from the 
jackal, or from an unknown and extinct species. Others again 
believe, and this of late has been the favourite tenet, that they 
have descended from several species, extinct and recent, more 
or less commingled together. We shall probably never be able 
to ascertain their origin with certainty. Palaeontology 1 does 
not throw much light on the question, owing, on the one 
hand, to the close similarity of the skulls of extinct as well 
as living wolves and jackals, and owing, on the other hand, to 

1 Owen, 'British Fossil Mammals,' 
pp. 123 to 133. Pictet's ' Traite de 
Pal.,' 1853, torn. i. p. 202. De Blain- 
ville, in his ' Osteographie, Canidse,' 
p. 142, has largely discussed the 
whole subject, and concludes that 
the extinct parent of all domesticated 
dogs came nearest to the wolf in 
organization, an 1 to the jackal in 

habits. See also Boyd Dawkins, 
'Cave Hunting,' 1874, p. 131, &c, 
and his other publications. Jeitteles 
has discussed in great detail the 
character of the breeds of pre-historic 
dogs : ' Die vorgeschichtlichen Alter- 
thiimer der Stadt Olmiitz,' II. Theii, 
1872, p. 44 to end. 

16 DOGS. Chap. I. 

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 doers are the descendants of a single ex- 
tinct species. On the other hand, some authors go so far as 
to assert that every chief domestic breed must have had its 
wild prototype. This latter view is extremely improbable : 
it allows nothing for variation ; it passes over the almost 
monstrous character of some of the breeds ; and it almost ne 
cessarily assumes that a large number of species have become 
extinct since man domesticated the dog ; whereas we plainly 
see that wild members of the dog-family are extirpated 
by human agency with much difficulty ; even so recently 
as 1710 the wolf existed in so small an island as Ireland. 

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

We will briefly run back through the historical records. 

2 Pallas, I believe, originated this force than the late James Wilson, of 

doctrine in 'Act. Acad. St. Peters- Edinburgh, in various papers read 

burgh,' 1780, Part ii. Ehrenberg has before the Highland Agricultural and 

advocated it, as may be seen in De Wernerian Societies. Isidore Geoffroy 

Blainville's ' O-teographie,' p. 79. It Saint-Hilaire (' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' 1860, 

has been carried to an extreme extent torn. iii. p. 107), though he believes 

by Col. Hamilton Smith in the that most dogs have descended from 

' Naturalist Library,' vols. ix. and x. the jackal, yet inclines to the belief 

Mr. W. C. Martin adopts it in his that some are descended from the 

excellent ' History of the Dog,' 1845 ; wolf. Prof. Gervais (' Hist. Nat. 

as does Dr. Morton, as well as Nott Mamm.' 1855, torn. ii. p. 69, referrirj j 

and Gliddon, in the United States. to the view that all the domest 3 

Prof. Low, in his ' Domesticated races are the modified descendants of a 

Animals,' 1845, p. 666, comes to this single species, after a long discussion, 

same conclusion. No one has argued says, " Cette opinion est, suivant nous 

on this side with more clearness and du moins, la moins probaMe." 


The materials are remarkably deficient between the four- 
teenth century and the Eoman classical period. 3 At this 
latter period various breeds, namety hounds, house-dogs, lap- 
dogs, &c, existed ; but, as Dr. Walther has remarked, it is 
impossible to recognise the greater number with any cer- 
tainty. Youatt, however, gives a drawing of a beautiful 
sculpture of two greyhound puppies from the Villa of An- 
toninus. 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 
Eosellini, and on the Egyptian monuments from the fourth 
to the twelfth dynasties (i.e. from about 3400 B.C. to 2100 B.C.) 
several varieties of the dog are represented ; most of them are 
allied to greyhounds ; at the later of these periods a dog 
resembling a hound is figured, with drooping ears, but with 
a longer back and more pointed head than in our hounds. 
There is, also, a turnspit, with short and crooked legs, closely 
resembling the existing variety ; but this kind of monstrosity 
is so common with various animals, as with the ancon sheep, 
and even, according to Eengger, with jaguars in Paraguay, 
that it would be rash to look at the monumental animal as 
the parent of all our turnspits : Colonel Sykes 5 also has 
described an Indian pariah dog as presenting the same 
monstrous character. The most ancient dog represented on 
the Egyptian monuments is one of the most singular; it 
resembles a greyhound, but has long pointed ears and a short 
curled tail : a closely allied variety still exists in Northern 

3 Berjeau, 'The Varieties of the from the tomb of the son of Esar 
Dog ; in old Sculptures and Pictures,' Haddor., and clay models in the 
1863. 'Der Hund,' von Dr. F. L. British Museum. Kott and Gliddon, 
Walther, Giessen, 1817, s. 48, : this in their 'Types of Mankind,' 1854, p. 
author seems carefully "to have studied 393, give a copy of these drawings, 
all classical works on the subject. This dog has been called a Thibetan 
See also Volz, ' Beitr'age zur Kultur- mastiff, but Mr. H. A. Oldfield, who 
geschichte,' Leipzig, 1852, s. 115 is familiar with the so-called Thibet 
4 Youatt on the Dog,' 1845, p. 6. A mastiff, and has examined the draw- 
very full history is given by De ings in the British Museum, informs 
Blainville in hrs ' Osteographie, me that he considers them different. 
Canidae.' 5 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' July 12th, 

' I have teen drawings rf th\< dns; 1831. 

18 DOGS. Chat. I. 

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

Long before the period of any historical record the dog was 
domesticated in Europe. In the Danish Middens of the Neo- 
lithic or Newer Stone period, bones of a canine animal are 
imbedded, and Steenstrup ingeniously argues that these be- 
longed 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 

8 ' Sporting in Algeria,' p. 51. curl-tailed greyhound, like that repre- 

7 Berjeau gives fac-similes "of the sented on the most ancient mouu- 

Egyptian drawings. Mr. C. L. Martin ments, is common in Borneo; but 

in his 'History of the Dog,' 1845, the Rajah, Sir J. Brooke, informs me 

copies several figures from the Egypt- that no such dog exists there, 

ian monuments, and speaks with 8 These, and the following facts on 

much confidence with respect to their the Danish remains, are taken from 

identity with still living dogs. Messrs. M. Morlot's most interesting memoir 

Nott and Gliddon (' Types of Mankind, in ' Soc. Vaudoise des Sc. Nat.' torn, vi., 

1854, p. 388) give still more numerous 1860, pp. 281, 299, 320. 
figures. Mr. Gliddon asserts that a 


dog was succeeded in Denmark during the Bronze period by 
a larger kind, presenting certain differences, and this again 
during the Iron period, by a still larger kind. In Switzer- 
land, we hear from Prof. Riitinaeyer, 9 that during the Neo- 
lithic 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 re- 
sembled in its jaw a dog of the same age in Denmark. 
Remains of two notably distinct varieties of the dog were 
found by Schmerling in a cave ; 10 but their age cannot be 
positively determined. 

The existence of a single race, remarkably constant in form 
during the whole Neolithic period, is an interesting fact in 
contrast with what we see of the changes which the races 
underwent during the period of the successive Egyptian 
monuments, and in contrast with our existing dogs. The 
character of this animal during the Neolithic period, as given 
by 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 different kinds of dogs in Switzerland and 
Denmark is thought to be due to the immigration of conquer- 
ing tribes bringing with them their dogs; and this view 
accords with the belief that different wild canine animals 
were domesticated in different regions. Independently of 
the immigration of new races of man, we know from the 
wide-spread presence of bronze, composed of an alloy of tin, 
how much commerce there must have been throughout 
Europe at an extremely remote period, and dogs would then 
probably have been bartered. At the present time, amongst 
the savages of the interior of Guiana, the Taruma Indians 

9 'Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 1861, s. 117, 162. 

10 De Blainville, ' Osteographie, Canidse.' 

20 DOGS. Chap. I. 

are considered the best trainers of dogs, and possess a large 
breed which they barter at a high price with othci 
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 com- 
parison between the wild and domesticated animal has been 
made but in few cases with sufficient exactness. Before 
entering on details, it will be well to show that there is no 
a priori difficulty in the belief that several canine species 
have been domesticated. Members of the dog family 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 12 how fond 
savages are of keeping and taming animals of all kinds. 
Social animals are the most easily subjugated by man, 
and several species of Canidas hunt in packs. It deserves 
notice, as bearing on other animals as well as on the 
dog, that at an extremely ancient period, when man first 
entered any country, the animals living there w^ould have 
felt no instinctive or inherited fear of him, and would conse 
quently 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 (Cams antarcticus) fearlessly 
came to meet Byron's sailors, who, mistaking this ignorant 
curiosity for ferocity, ran into the water to avoid them : even 
recently a man, by holding a piece of meat in one hand and a 
knife in the other, could sometimes stick them at night. On 
an island in the Sea of Aral, when first discovered by 
Butakofif, the saigak antelopes, which are " generally very 
timid and watchful, did not fly from us, but on the contrary 
looked at us with a sort of curiosity." So, again, on the 
shores of the Mauritius, the manatee was not at first in the 
least afraid of man, and thus it has been in several quarters 
of the world with seals and the morse. I have elsewhere 

11 Sir R. Schomburgk has given me xiii., 1843, p. 65. 
information on this head. See also 12 ' Domestication of Animals :' 

'Journal of R. Geograph. Soc.' vol. Ethnological Soc, Dec. 22nd, 1863. 


shown 13 how slowly the native birds of several islands have 
acquired and inherited a salutary dread of man : at the Gala- 
pagos Archipelago I pushed with the muzzle of my gun 
hawks from a branch, and held out a pitcher of water for 
other birds to alight on and drink. Quadrupeds and birds 
which have seldom been disturbed by man, dread him no 
more than do our English birds, the cows, or horses grazing 
in the fields. 

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

We will now enter into details. The accurate and sagacious 
Bichardson says, " The resemblance between the Northern 
American wolves (Canis lupus, var. occidentalis) and the 
domestic dogs of the Indians is so great that the size and 
strength of the wolf seems to be the only difference. I have 
more than once mistaken a band of wolves for the dogs of 
a party of Indians ; and the howl of the animals of both 
species is prolonged so exactly in the same key that even the 

13 ' Journal of Researches,' &c, of the antelope, see l Journal Royal 
1845, p. 393. With respect to Canis Geograph. Soc.,' vol. xxiii. p. 94. 
antarcticus, see p. 193. For the case 



Chap. 1 

practised ear of the Indian fails at times to discriminate them.'' 
He adds that the more northern Esquimaux dogs are not only 
extremely like the grey wolves of the Arctic circle in form 
and colour, but also nearly equal them in size. Dr. Kane 
has often seen in his teams of sledge- dogs the oblique eye 
(a character on which some naturalists lay great stress), the 
drooping tail, and scared look of the wolf. In disposition 
the Esquimaux dogs differ little from wolves, and, according 
to Dr. Hayes, they are capable of no attachment to man, and 
are so savage that when hungry they will attack even their 
masters. According to Kane they readily become feral. 
Their affinity is so close with wolves that they frequently 
cross with them, and the Indians take the whelps of wolves 
" to improve the breed of their dogs." The half-bred wolves 
sometimes (Lamare-Picquot) cannot be tamed, " though this 
case is rare ;" but they do not become thoroughly well broken 
in till the second or third generation. These facts show that 
there can be but little, if any, sterility between the Esqui- 
maux 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 (Ca?iis latrans), which is now looked at by all 
naturalists as specifically distinct from the common wolf; and 
is, according to Mr. J. K. Lord, in some respects intermediate 
in habits between a wolf and a fox. Sir J. Eichardson, after 
describing the Hare Indian dog, which differs in many respects 
from the Esquimaux dog, says, " It bears the same relation to 
the prairie-wolf that the Esquimaux dog does to the great 

14 The authorities for the foregoing 
statements are as follow : — Richard- 
son, in ' Fauna Boreali-Americana,' 
1829, pp. 64, 75; Dr. Kane, 'Arctic 
Explorations,' 1856, vol. i. pp. 398, 
455 ; Dr. Hayes, ' Arctic Boat Jour- 
ney,' 1860, p. 167. Franklin's 
' Narrative,' vol. i. p. 269, gives the 
case of three whelps of a black wolf 
being carried away by the Indians. 
Parry, Richardson, and others, give 
accounts of wdves and dogs naturally 

crossing in the eastern parts of North 
America. Seeman, in his ' Voyage of 
H.M.S. Herald, 1853, vol. ii. pi 26, 
says the wolf is often caught by the 
Esquimaux for the purpose of crossing 
with their dogs, and thus adding to 
their size and strength. M. Lamare- 
Picquot, in 'Bull, de la Soc. d'Accli- 
mat.' torn, vii., 1860, p. 148, gives a 
good account of the half-bred Esqui- 
maux dogs. 

Chap. I. 



grey wolf." He could, in fact, detect no marked difference 
between them; and Messrs. Kott and Gliddon give additional 
details showing their close resemblance. The dogs derived from 
the above two aboriginal sources cross together and with the 
wild wolves, at least with the C. occidentalis, and with European 
dcgs. In Florida, according to Bartram, the black wolf-dog 
of the Indians differs in nothing from the wolves of that 
country except in barking. 13 

Turning to the southern parts of the new world, Columbus 
found two kinds of dogs in the West Indies ; and Fernandez 16 
describes three in Mexico : some of these native dogs were 
dumb — that is, did not bark. In Guiana it has been known 
since the time of Buffon that the natives cross their dogs 
with an aboriginal species, apparently the Canis cancrivorus. 
Sir E. 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. cancri- 
vorus for domestic purposes, nor is the Ai, another species 
of wild dog, and which I consider to be identical with the 
Dusicyon silvcstris 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 aboriginal species, and still cross 
their dogs with them ; these two sj)ecies belong to a quite dif- 
ferent type from the North American and European wolves. A 

15 ' Fauna Boreali-Americana.' 
1829, pp. 73, 78, 80. Nott and 
Gliddon, ' Types of Mankind,' p. 383. 
The naturalist and traveller Bartram 
is quoted by Hamilton Smith, in 'Na- 
turalist Lib.,' vol. x. p. 156. A Mexican 
domestic dog seems also to resemble a 
wild dog of the same country ; but 
this may be the prairie-wolf. Another 
capable judge, Mr. J. K. Lord ('The 
Naturalist in Vancouver Island,' 1866, 

vol. ii. p. 218), says that the Indian 
dog of the Spokaus, near the Rocky 
Mountains, " is beyond all question 
nothing more than a tamed Cayote or 
prairie-wolf," or Canis latrans. 

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

21 DOGS. Chap. I. 

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

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 description, says he has 
known a Hungarian mistake a wolf for one of his own dogs. 
Jeitteles, also, remarks on the close similarity of the Hungarian 
dog and wolf. Shepherd dogs in Italy must anciently have 
closely resembled wolves, for Columella (vii. 12) advises that 
white dogs be kept, adding, " pastor album probat, ne pro lupo 
canem feriat." Several accounts have been given of dogs and 
wolves crossing naturally ; and Pliny asserts that the Gauls 
tied their female dogs in the woods that they might cross 
with wolves. 19 The European wolf differs slightly from that 
of North America, and has been ranked by many naturalists 
as a distinct species. The common wolf of India is also by 
some esteemed as a third species, and here again we find a 

17 ' Naturgeschichte der Sauge- (Eng. transl.), 8th book, ch. xl., about 
thiere von Paraguay,' 1830, s. 151. the Gauls crossing their dogs. See also 

18 Quoted in Humboldt's 'Aspects Aristotle, 'Hist. -Animal.' lib. viii. c. 
of Nature ' (Eng. trans.), vol. i. p. 28. For good evidence about wolves 
108. and dogs naturally crossing near the 

19 Paget's 'Travels in Hungaiy and Pyrenees, see M. Mauduyt, ' Du Loup 
Transylvania,' vol. i. p. 501. Jeitteles, et de ses Races,' Poitiers, 1851; also 
' Fauna Hungarian Sup<?rioris,' 1862, s. Pallas, in 'Acta Acad. St. Petersburgh,' 
13. See Pliny, 'Hist, of the World ' 1780, part ii. p. 94. 


marked resemblance between the pariah dogs of certain 
districts of India and the Indian wolf. 20 

With respect to Jackals, Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 21 
says that not one constant difference can be pointed out between 
iheir structure and that of the smaller races of dogs. They 
agree closely in habits : jackals, when tamed and called by 
their master, wag their tails, lick his hands, crouch, and throw 
themselves on their backs ; they smell at the tails of other 
dogs, and void their urine sideways; they roll on carrion or 
on animals which they have killed ; and, lastly, when in high 
spirits, they run round in circles or in a figure of eight, with 
their tails between their legs. 22 A number of excellent 
naturalists, from the time of Giildenstadt to that of Ehren- 
berg, 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. Nord- 
mann, for instance, says, " Les chiens dAwhasie ressemblent 
etonnamment a des chacals." Ehrenberg 23 asserts that the 
domestic dogs of Lower Egypt, and certain mummied dogs, 
have for their wild t\ T pe 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. sahbar, which is only a form of 
the common jackal. Pallas asserts that jackals and dogs 
sometimes naturally cross in the East; and a case is on 
record in Algeria. 24 The greater number of naturalists 
divide the jackals of Asia and Africa into several species, but 
some few rank them all as one. 

20 I give this on excellent authority, See also ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes, 
namely, Mr. Blyth (under the signa- par Prof. Gervais, 1855, torn. ii. p. 60. 
ture of Zoophi'lus), in the 'Indian 22 Also Guldenstadt, 'Nov. Corn- 
Sporting Review,' Oct. 1856, p. 134. ment. Acad. Petrop.,' torn, xx., pro 
Mr. Blyth states that he was struck anno 1775, p. 449. Also Salvin, in 
with the resemblance between a brush- 'Land and Water,' Oct. 1869. 
tailed race of pariah-dogs, north-west 23 Quoted by De Blainville in his 
of Cawnpore, and the Indian wolf. He ' Osteographie, Canidae,' pp. 79, 98. 
gives corroborative evidence with 24 See Pallas, in 'Act. Acad St. 
respect to the dogs of the valley of Petersburgh,' 1780, part ii. p. 91. 
the Nerbudda. For Algeria, see Isid. Geoffroy St.- 

21 For numerous and interesting Hilaire, ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 
details on the resemblance of dogs and 177. In both countries it is the male 
jackals, see Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, jackal which pairs with female 
'Hist. Nat. Gen.,' 1860, torn. iii. p. 101. domestic dogs. 

26 DOGS. Chap. I. 

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

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

25 John Barbut's ' Description of Mag. of Nat. Hist.' (3rd series), vol. 
the Coast of Guinea in 1746.' i.w, 1862, p. 147. The Dingo differs 

26 ' Travels in South Africa,' vol. ii. from the dogs of the central Polyne- 
p. 272. sian islands. Dieffenbach remarks 

27 Selwyn, Geology of Victoria; ('Travels,' vol. ii. p. 45) that the 
'Journal of Geolog. Soc.,' vol. xiv., native New Zealand dog' also differs 
1858, p. 536, and vol. xvi., 1860, p. from the Dingo. 

148 ; and Prof. M'Coy, in ' Annals and 


rise to two breeds in the same country, resembling two of its 
aboriginal species, as in the above-given cases of Guiana and 
of North America. 23 

It cannot be objected to the view of several canine species 
having been anciently domesticated, that these animals are 
tamed with difficulty : facts have been already given on this 
head, but I may add that the young of the Canis primcevus of 
India were tamed by Mr. Hodgson, 29 and became as sensible 
of caresses, and manifested as much intelligence, as any 
sporting dog of the same age. There is not much difference, 
as we have already shown and shall further see, in habits 
between the domestic dogs of the North American Indians and 
the wolves of that country, or between the Eastern pariah 
dogs and jackals, or between the dogs which have run wild 
in various countries and the several natural species of the 
family. The habit of barking, however, which is almost 
universal with domesticated dogs, forms an excejjtion, as it 
does not characterise a single natural species of the family, 
though I am assured that the Canis latrans of North America 
utters a noise which closely approaches a bark. But this 
habit is soon lost by dogs when they become feral and is soon 
reacquired when they are again domesticated. The case of 
the wild dogs on the island of Juan Fernandez having become 
dumb has often been quoted, and there is reason to believe 30 
that the dumbness ensued in the course of thirty-three years ; 
on the other hand, dogs taken from this island by Ulloa 
slowly reacquired the habit of barking. The Mackenzie- 
river dogs, of the Canis latrans type, when brought to Eng- 
land, never learned to bark properly ; but one born in the 
Zoological Gardens 31 " made his voice sound as loudly as any 
other dog of the same age and size." According to Professor 

28 These latter remarks afford, I navian Adventures,' 1854, vol. i. p. 480. 
think, a sufficient answer to some With respect to the jackal, see Prof. 
criticisms by Mr. Wallace, on the Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. Mamm.' torn. ii. 
multiple origin of dogs, given in p. 61. With respect to the aguara of 
Lyell's 'Principles of Geology,' 1872, Paraguay, see Rengger's work. 

vol. ii. p. 295. 30 Roulin, in ' Mem. present, par 

29 'Proceedings Zoolog. Soc.,' 1833, divers Savans,' torn. vi. p. 341. 

p. 112. See, also, on the taming of 8I Martin, 'History of the Dog,' 

the common wolf, L. Lloyd, ' Scandi- p. 14. 



Chap. I. 

Nillson, 32 a wolf-wlielp reared by a bitch, barks. I. Geoffrey 
Saint-Hi] aire exhibited a jackal which barked with the same 
tone as any common dog. 33 An interesting account has been 
given by Mr. Gr. Clarke 34 of some dogs run wild on Juan de 
Nova, in the Indian Ocean ; " they had entirely lost the 
faculty of barking ; they had no inclination for the company 
of other dogs, nor did they acquire their voice," during a 
captivity of several months. On the island they " congregate 
in vast packs, and catch sea-birds with as much address as 
foxes could display." The feral dogs of La Plata have not 
become dumb ; they are of large size, hunt singly or in packs, 
and burrow holes for their young. 35 In these habits the 
feral dogs of La Plata resemble wolves and jackals ; both of 
which hunt either singly or in packs, and burrow holes. 36 
These feral dogs have not become uniform in colour on Juan 
Fernandez, Juan de Nova, or La Plata. 37 In Cuba the feral 
dogs are described by Poeppig as nearly all mouse-coloured, 
with short ears and light-blue eyes. In St. Domingo, Col. 
Ham. Smith says 3S that the feral dogs are very large, like 
greyhounds, of a uniform pale blue-ash, with small ears, and 
large light-brown eyes. Even the wild Dingo, though so 
anciently naturalised in Australia, " varies considerably in 
colour," as I am informed by Mr. P. P. King : a half-bred 
Dingo reared in England 39 showed signs of wishing to 

From the several foregoing facts we see that reversion in the 
feral state gives no indication of the colour or size of the aboriginal 

32 Quoted by L. Lloyd in 'Field 
Sports of North of Europe,' vol. i. p. 

33 Quatrefages, ' Soc. d'Acclimat.,' 
May 11th, 1863, p. 7. 

34 ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.' 
vol. xv., 1845, p. 140. 

35 Azara, ' Voyages dans l'Amer. 
Merid.,' torn. i. p. 381 ; his account is 
fully confirmed by Rengger. Quatre- 
fages gives an account of a bitch 
brought from Jerusalem to France 
which burrowed a hole and littered 
in it. See ' Discours, Exposition des 
Races Canines,' 1865, p. 3. 

36 With respect to wolves burrow- 
ing holes, see Richardson, 'Fauna 
Boreali-Americana,' p. 64 ; and Bech- 
stein, 'Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,' 
b. i. s. 617. 

37 See Poeppig, ' Reise in Chile,' 
B. i. s. 290 ; Mr. G. Clarke, as above ; 
and Rengger, s. 155. 

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

39 Low, ' Domesticated Animals ' 
p. 650. 


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 tins 
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 
mongrel, 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 
some way correlated. I have noticed, in various breeds, every 
gradation, from the whole face being tan-coloured, to a complete 
ring round the eyes, to a minute spot over the inner and upper 
corners. The spots occur in various sub-breecls 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 bull- 
dog, though the spots were in this case almost white ; and in grey- 
hounds, — but true black-and-tan greyhounds are excessively rare ; 
nevertheless I have been assured by Mr. Warwick, that one ran at 
the Caledonian Champion meeting of April 1860, and was " marked 
precisely like a black-and-tan terrier." This dog, or another exactly 
the same colour, ran at the Scottish National Club on the 21st of 
March, 1865 ; and I hear from Mr. C. M. Browne, that " there was 
no reason either on the sire or dam side for the appearance of this 
unusual colour." Mr. Swinhoe at my request looked at the dogs in 
China, at Amoy, and he soon noticed a brown dog with yellow 
spots over the eyes. Colonel H. Smith 40 figures the magnificent 
black mastiff of Thibet with a tan-coloured stripe over the eyes, 
feet, and chaps; and what is more singular, he figures the Alco, or 
native domestic dog of Mexico, as black and white, with nariow 
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 


' Tb i Nataralkt Library,' DogSj vcl. x. pp 4 19. 



Chap. L 

different breeds, living iu 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 
parent-form of nearly all our domestic races. But aftc-r looking at 
many coloured plates, and through the whole collection of skins in 
the British Museum, I can find no species thus marked. It is no 
doubt possible that some extinct species was thus coloured. On 
the other hand, in looking at the various species, there seems to be 
a tolerably plain correlation between tan-coloured legs and face ; 
and less frequently between black legs and a black face ; and this 
general rule of colouring explains to a certain extent the above- 
given cases of correlation between the eye-spots and the colour of 
the feet. Moreover, some jackals and foxes have a trace of a white 
ring round their eyes, as in G. mesomtlas, C. aureus, and (judging 
from Colonel H. Smith's drawing) in ft aloper, and C. thaleb. 
Other species have a trace of a black line over the corners of the 
eyes, as in C. variegatus, cinerco-variegatiis, and fulvus, and the wild 
Dingo. Hence I am inclined to conclude that a tendency for tan- 
coloured spots to appear over the eyes in the various breeds of 
dogs, is analogous to the case observed by Desmarest, namely, that 
when any white appears on a dog the tip of the tail is always white, 
"de maniere a rappeler la tache terminale de menie couleur, qui 
caracterise la plupart des Canides sauvages." 41 This rule, however, 
as I am assured by Mr. Jesse, does not invariably hold good. 

It has been objected that our domestic dogs cannot be 
descended from wolves or jackals, because their periods of 
gestation are different. The supposed difference rests on 
statements made by Buffon, Gilibert, Bechstein, and others; 
but these are now known to be erroneous ; and the period is 
found to agree in the wolf, jackal, and dog, as closely as could 
be expected, for it is often in some degree variable. 42 Tessier, 

41 Quoted by Prof. Gervais, ' Hist. 
Xat. Maram..' torn. ii. p. 66. 

42 J. Hunter shows that the long 
period of seventy-three days given by 
Buffon is e isily explained by the bitch 
having received the dog many times 
during a period of sixteen days (' Phil. 
Transact.,' 1787, p. 353). Hunter 
found that the gestation of a mongrel 
from wolf and dog ('Phil. Transact.,' 
1789, p. 160) apparently was sixty- 

three days, for she received the dog 
more than once. The period of a 
mongrel dog and jackal was fifty-nine 
davs. Fred. Cuvier found the period 
of gestation of the wolf to be (' Diet 
Class. d'Hist. Nat.' torn. iv. p. 8) twe- 
months and a i'ew days, which asrrees 
with the dog. Isid. G. St.-Hi'aire, 
who has discussed the whole subject, 
and from whom I quote Belliugeri, 
states ('Hist. Nat. Gen,' torn. iii. p. 


who has closely attended to this subject, allows a difference 
of four da} r s in the gestation of the dog. The Eev. 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, hut counting that of parturition, the 
periods were fifty-nine, sixty-two, and sixty-seven days. The 
average period is sixty-three days ; but Bellingeri states that 
this applies only to large dogs ; and that for small races it 
is from sixty to sixty-three days ; Mr. Eyton of Eyton, who 
has had much experience with dogs, also informs me that 
the time is apt to be longer with large than with small 

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

The belief that our dogs are descended from wolves, jackals, 
South American Canidas, and other species, suggests a far more 
important difficulty. These animals in their undomesticated 
state, judging from a widely-spread analogy, would have been 
in some degree sterile if intercrossed ; and such sterility will 
be admitted as almost certain by all those who believe that 
the lessened fertility of crossed forms is an infallible criterion 
of specific distinctness. Anyhow these animals keep distinct 
in the countries which they inhabit in common. On the 
other hand, all domestic dogs, which are here supposed to 
be descended from several distinct species, are, as far as is 

112) that in the Jardin des Plantes 'Hist. Xat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 112, on 

the period of the jackal has been the odour of jackals. Col. Ham. Smith, 

found to be from sixty to sixty-three m ' Nat. Lib.,' vol. x. p. 289. 
days, exactly as with the dog. 44 Quoted by Quatrefages in ' Bull 

43 See Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, Soc. d'Acclimat.,' May 11th, 1863. 

32 DOGS. Chap. I 

known, mutually fertile together. But, as Broca has well 
remarked, 45 the fertility of successive generations of mongrel 
dogs has never been scrutinised with that care which is 
thought indispensable when species are crossed. The few 
facts leading to the conclusion that the sexual feelings and 
reproductive powers differ in the several races of the dog 
when crossed are (passing over mere size as rendering pro- 
pagation difficult) as follows : the Mexican Alco 46 apparently 
dislikes dogs of other kinds, but this perhaps is not strictly a 
sexual feeling ; the hairless endemic dog of Paraguay, ac- 
cording to Eengger, mixes less with the European races than 
these do with each other ; the Spitz dog in Germany is said 
to receive the fox more readily than do other breeds ; and Dr. 
Hodgkin states that a female Dingo in England attracted the 
male wild foxes. If these latter statements can be trusted, 
they prove some degree of sexual difference in the breeds of 
the dog. But the fact remains that our domestic dogs, 
differing so widely as they do in external structure, are far 
more fertile together than we have reason to believe their 
supposed wild parents would have been, Pallas assumes 47 
that a long course of domestication eliminates that sterility 
which the parent-species would have exhibited if only lately 
captured ; no distinct facts are recorded in support of this 
hypothesis ; but the evidence seems to me so strong (indepen- 
dently of the evidence derived from other domesticated 
animals) in favour of our domestic dogs having descended from 
several wild stocks, that I am inclined to admit the truth of 
this hypothesis. 

There is another and closely allied difficulty consequent on 
the doctrine of the descent of our domestic dogs from several 
wild species, namely, that they do not seem to be perfectly 
fertile with their supposed parents. But the experiment has 
not been quite fairly tried ; the Hungarian dog, for instance, 

45 'Journal de la Fhysiologie,' torn. 'Naturgesch. Deutschlands,' 1801, 
ii. p. 385. B. i. s. 638. With respect to Dr. 

46 See Mr. R. Hill's excellent ae- Hodgkin's statement made before 
count of this breed in Gosse's Brit. Assoc, see 'The Zoologist,' vol. 
'Jamaica,' p. 338; Rengger's ' Sauge- iv., for 1845-46, p. 1097. 

thiere von Paraguay,' s. 153. With 47 'Acta Acad. St. Petersburgh, 

respect to Spitz dogs, see Bechstein's 1780, part ii. pp. 84, 100. 


which in external appearance so closely resembles the Euro- 
pean wolf, ought to be crossed with this wolf: and the 
pariah dogs of India with Indian wolves and jackals ; and so 
in other cases. That the sterility is very slight between 
certain dogs and wolves and other Canidae is shown by 
savages taking the trouble to cross them. BufFon got four 
successive generations from the wolf and dog, and the 
mongrels were perfectly fertile together. 48 But more lately 
M. Flourens states positively as the result of his numerous 
experiments that hybrids from the wolf and dog, crossed 
inter se, become sterile at the third generation, and those 
from the jackal and dog at the fourth generation. 49 But 
these animals were closely confined ; and many wild animals, 
as we shall see in a future chapter, are rendered by confine- 
ment in some degree or even utterly sterile. The Dingo, 
which breeds freely in Australia with our imported dogs, 
would not breed though repeatedly crossed in the Jardin des 
Plantes. 50 Some hounds from Central Africa, brought home 
by Major Denham, never bred in the Tower of London ; 51 
and a similar tendency to sterility might be transmitted to 
the hybrid offspring of a wild animal. Moreover, it appears 
that in M. Flourens' experiments the hybrids were closely 
bred in and in for three or four generations ; and this cir- 
cumstance, would most certainly increase the tendency to 
sterility. Several years ago I saw confined in the Zoological 
Gardens of London a female hybrid from an English dog 
and jackal, which even in this the first generation was so 
sterile that, as I was assured by her keeper, she did not fully 

48 M. Broea has shown (' Journal de well-known. See also Isid. Geoffroy 
Physiologie,' torn. ii. p. 353) that St.-Hilaire, ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. 
Button's experiments have been often p. 217, who speaks of the hybrid off- 
misrepresented. Broca has collected spring of the jackal as perfectly fertile 
(pp. 390-395) many facts on the for three generations. 

fertility of crossed dogs, wolves, and 50 On authority of F. Cuvier, 

jackals. quoted in Bronn's * Geschichte der 

49 ' De la Longevite Humaine,' par Natur,' B. ii. s. 164. 

M. Flourens, 1855, p. 143. Mr. Blyth 51 W. C. L. Martin, ' History of the 

says ('Indian Sporting Review,' vol. Dog,' 1845, p. 203. Mr. Philip P. 

u. p. 137) that he ha>> seen in India King, after ample opportunities of 

several hybrids from the pariah-dog observation, informs me that the 

and jackal ; and between one of these Dingo and European dogs often cross 

hybrids and a terrier. The experi- in Australia, 
ments of Hunter on the jackal are 


34 DOGS. Chai\ 1. 

exhibit lier proper periods ; but this case Avas certainly 
exceptional, as numerous instances have occurred of fertile 
hybrids from these two animals. In almost all experiments 
on the crossing of animals there are so many causes of doubt, 
that it is extremely difficult to come to any positive con- 
clusion. It would, however, appear, that those who believe 
that our dogs are descended from several species will have 
not only to admit that their offspring after a long course of 
domestication generally lose all tendency to sterility when 
crossed together ; but that between certain breeds of dogs and 
some of their supposed aboriginal parents a certain degree of 
sterility has been retained or possibly even acquired. 

Notwithstanding the difficulties in regard to fertility 
given in the last two paragraphs, when we reflect on the 
inherent improbability of man having domesticated through- 
out 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 structure and habits, between the domestic dogs 
of various countries and the wild species still inhabiting 
these same countries, the balance of evidence is strongly in 
favour of the multiple origin of our dogs. 

Differences between the several Breeds of the Dog. — If the 
several breeds have descended from several wild stocks, their 
difference can obviously in part be explained by that of their 
parent species. For instance, the form of the greyhound 
may be partly accounted for by descent from some such 
animal as the slim Abyssinian Canis simensis^ 2 with its 
elongated muzzle ; that of the larger dogs from the larger 
wolves, and the smaller and slighter dogs from the jackals : 
and thus perhaps we may account for certain constitutional 
and climatal differences. But it would be a great error 
to suppose that there has not been in addition 53 a large 

52 Riippel, 'Neue Wirbelthiere von Museum. 
Abyssinien,' 1835-40 ; ' Mammif.,' s. 53 Even Pallas admits this ; see 

39, pi. xiv. There is a specimen 'Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh,' 1780, 

of this fine animal in tha British p. 93. 


amount of variation. The intercrossing of the several 
aboriginal wild stocks, and of the subsequently formed i aces, 
has probabty increased the total number of breeds, and, as 
we shall presently see, has greatly modified some of them. 
But we cannot explain by crossing the origin of such extreme 
forms as thoroughbred greyhounds, bloodhounds, bulldogs, 
Blenheim spaniels, terriers, pugs, &c, unless we believe that 
forms equally or more strongly characterised in these different 
respects once existed in nature. But hardly any one has 
been bold enough to suppose that such unnatural forms ever 
did or could exist in a wild state. When compared with all 
known members of the family of CanidaB 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 

The number of breeds and sub-breeds of the dog is great ; Youait 
for instance, describes twelve kinds of greyhounds. I will not 
attempt to enumerate or describe the varieties, for we cannot dis- 
criminate how much of their difference is due to variation, and 
how much to descent from different aboriginal stocks. But it may 
be worth while briefly to mention some points. Commencing with 
the skull, Cuvier has admitted 54 that in form the differences are 
" plus fortes que celles d'aucunes especes sauvages d'un meme 
genre naturel." The proportions of the different bones ; the curva- 
ture of the lower jaw, the position of the condyles with respect to 
the plane of the teeth (on which F. Cuvier founded his classification), 
and in mastiffs the shape of its posterior branch ; the shape of the 
zygomatic arch, and of the temporal fossae; the position of the 
occiput— all vary considerably. 55 The difference in size between 
the brains of dogs belonging to large and small breeds " is some- 
thing prodigious " " Some dogs' brains are high and rounded, 
while others are low, long, and narrow in front." In the latter, 
" the olfactory lobes are visible for about half their extent, when 
the brain is seen from above, but they are wholly concealed by the 
hemispheres in other breeds." 56 The dog has properly six pairs of 
molar teeth in the upper jaw, and seven in the lower ; but several 

54 Quoted by I. Geoffroy, ' Hist. observations on the degeneracy of 
Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 453. the skull in certain breeds, by 1'rof. 

55 F. Cuvier, in ' Annales du Bianconi, 'La Theorie Darwiuienne,' 
Museum,' torn, xviii. p. 3:37 : Godron, 1874, p. 279. 

' De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 342 ; and 5fi Dr. Burt Wilder, ' American 

Col. H. Smith, in 'Nat. Library,' Assoc. Advancement of Science,' 1873 ; 

vol. ix. p. 101. See also some pp. 236, 239. 



Chap. 1 

naturalists have seen not rarely an additional pair in the upper 
jaw; 57 and Professor Gervais says that there are dogs "qui ont 
sept paires de dents superieures et huit inferieures." De Blain- 
ville 68 has given full particulars on the frequency of these deviations 
in the number of the teeth, and has shown that it is not always the 
same tooth which is supernumerary. In short-muzzled races, 
according to H. Muller, 59 the molar teeth stand obliquely, whilst 
in long-muzzled races they are placed longitudinally, with open 
spaces between them. The naked, so-called Egyptian or Turkish 
dog is extremely deficient in its teeth, 00 — sometimes having none 
except one molar on each side ; but this, though characteristic of 
the breed, must be considered as a monstrosity. M. Girard, 61 who 
seems to have attended closely to the subject, says that the period 
of the appearance of the permanent teeth differs in different dogs, 
being earlier in large dogs ; thus the mastiff assumes its adult teeth 
in four or five months, whilst in the spaniel the period is sometimes 
more than seven or eight months. On the other hand small dogs 
are mature, and the females have arrived at the best age for 
breeding, when one year old, whereas large dogs " are still in their 
puppyhood at this time, and take fully twice as long to develop 
their proportions.'" 32 

With respect to minor differences little need be said. Isidore 
Geoffroy lias shown 63 that in size some dogs are six times as long 
(the tail being excluded) as others ; and that the height relatively 
to the length of the body varies from between one to two, and one 
to nearly four. In the Scotch deer-hound there is a striking and 
remarkable difference in the size of the male and female. 64 Every 
one knows how the ears vary in size in different breeds, and with 
their great development their muscles become atrophied. Certain 
breeds of dogs are described as having a deep furrow between the 
nostrils and lips. The caudal vertebrae, according to F. Cuvier, 
on whose authority the two last statements rest, vary in number ; 
and the tail in English cattle and some shepherd dogs is almost 
ahsent. The mammae vary from seven to ten in number; Dauben- 
ton, having examined twenty-one dogs, found eight with five 
mammae on each side; eight with four on each side; aud the others 

57 Isid. Geoffroy Saint -Hilaire, 
'Hist, des Anomalies,' 1832, torn. i. 
p. 660, Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des 
Mammiferes,' torn, ii., 1855, p. 66. 
De Blainville (' Osteographie, Canida?,' 
p. 137) has also seen an extra molar 
on both sides. 

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

59 Wiirzlmrger, ' Medeein. Zeits- 
chrift,' I860, B. i. s. 265. 

60 Mr. Yarrell, in ' Proc. Zoolog 
Soc.,' Oct. 8th, 1833. Mr. Water- 
house showed me a skull of one of 

these dogs, which had only a single 
molar on each side and some imperfect 

61 Quoted in ' The Veterinary,' 
London, vol. viii. p. 415. 

62 This is quoted from Stonehenge, 
a great authority, 'The Dog,' 1867, 
p. 187. 

63 ' Hist. Nat. General,' torn. iii. p. 

64 W. Scrope, < Art of Deer-Stalk- 
ing,' p. 354. 

CflAP. I. 



with an unequal number on the two sides. 65 Dogs have properly 
five toes in front and four behind, but a fifth toe is often added ; 
and F. Cuvier states that, when a fifth toe is present, a fourth 
cuneiform bone is developed ; and, in this case, sometimes the great 
cuneiform bone is raised, and gives on its inner side a large arti- 
cular surface to the astragalus; so that even the relative connection 
of the bones, the most constant of all characters, varies. These 
modifications, however, in the feet of dogs are not important, 
because they ought to be ranked, as De Blainville has shown, 6 * 5 as 
monstrosities. Nevertheless they are interesting from being corre- 
lated with the size of the body, for they occur much more frequently 
with mastiffs and other large breeds than with small dogs. Closely 
allied varieties, however, sometimes differ in this respect; thus 
Mr. Hodgson states that the black- and-tan Lassa variety of the 
Thibet mastiff has the fifth digit, whilst the Mustang sub-variety 
is not thus characterised. The extent to which the skin is developed 
between the toes varies much; but we shall return to this point. 
The degree to which the various breeds differ in the perfection of 
their senses, dispositions, and inherited habits is notorious to every 
one. The breeds present some constitutional differences : the pulse, 
says Youatt, 67 " varies materially according to the breed, as well as 
to the size of the animal." Different breeds of dogs are subject 
in different degrees to various diseases. They certainly become 
adapted to different climates under which they have long existed. 
It is notorious that most of our best European breeds deteriorate 
in India. 68 The Rev E. Everest 69 believes that no one has succeeded 
in keeping the Newfoundland dog long alive in India ; so it is, 
according to Lichtenstein, 70 even at the Cape of Good Hope. The 
Thibet mastiff degenerates on the plains of India, and can live only 
on the mountains. 71 Lloyd 72 asserts that our bloodhounds and 
bulldogs have been tried, and cannot withstand the cold of the 
northern European forests. 

Seeing in how many characters the races of the dog' differ 

65 Quoted by Col. Ham. Smith in 
1 Nat. Lib.,' vol. x. p. 79. 

66 De Blainville, ' Osteographie, 
Canilae,' p. 134. F. Cuvier, 'Annates 
du Museum.' torn, xviii. p. 34-2. In 
regard to mastiffs, see Col. H. Smith, 
'Nat. Lib.' vol. x. p. 218. For the 
Thibet mastiff, see Mr. Hodgson in 
' Journal of As. Soc. of Bengal,' vol. i., 
1832, p. 342. 

67 'The Dog,' 1845, p. 186. With 
respect to diseases, Youatt asserts (p. 
167) that the Italian greyhouud is 
''strongly subject " to polypi in the 
matrix or vagina. The spaniel and 
pug (p. 182) are most liable to bron- 

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

68 See Youatt on the Dog, p. 15 ; 
'The Veterinary,' London, vol. xi. p. 

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

70 'Travels,' vol. ii. p. 15. 

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

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

38 DOGS. Ohap. I. 

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

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


teeth to work on, he could probably do so, for he has 
succeeded in making hornless breeds of cattle and sheep. 

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

It would appear that climate to a certain extent directly 
modifies the forms of dogs. We have lately seen that several 
of our English breeds cannot live in India, and it is positively 
asserted that when bred there for a few generations they 
degenerate not only in their mental faculties, but in form. 
Captain Williamson, 75 who carefully attended to this subject, 
states that " hounds are the most rapid in their decline ;" 
" greyhounds and pointers, also, rapidly decline." But 
spaniels, after eight or nine generations, and without a cross 
from Europe, are as good as their ancestors. Dr. Falconer 
informs me that bulldogs, which have been known, when 
first brought into the country, to pin down even an elephant 
by its trunk, not only fall off after two or three generations 
in pluck and ferocity, but lose the under-hung character 
of their lower jaws ; their muzzles become finer and their 
bodies lighter. English dogs imported into India are so 
valuable that probably due care has been taken to prevent 
their crossing with native dogs ; so that the deterioration 
cannot be thus accounted for. The Eev. E. 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 

74 'Historv of Quadrupeds,' 1793, 7S 'Oriental Field Sports,' quoted 

fol. i. p. 23& by Youatt, 'The Dog,' p. 15. 

40 DOGS. Chap. I. 

precautions to prevent a cross, but he never succeeded, though 
this was only the second generation in India, in obtaining 
a single young dog like its parents in size or make; their 
nostrils were more contracted, their noses more pointed, their 
size inferior, and their limbs more slender. So again on the 
coast of Guinea, dogs, according to Bosman, " alter strangely ; 
their ears grow long and stiff like those of foxes, to which 
colour they also incline, so that in three or four years, they 
degenerate into very ugly creatures ; and in thiee or four 
broods their barking turns into a howl." 76 This remarkable 
tendency to rapid deterioration in European dogs subjected 
to the climate of India and Africa, may be largely accounted 
for by reversion to a primordial condition which*many animals 
exhibit, as we shall hereafter see, when their constitutions 
are in any way disturbed. 

Some of the peculiarities characteristic of the several breeds 
of the dog have probably arisen suddenly, and, though strictly 
inherited, may be called monstrosities ; for instance, the shape 
of the legs and body in the turnspit of Europe and India ; 
the shape of the head and the under-hanging jaw in the bull- 
and pug-dog, so alike in this one respect and so unlike in all 
others. A peculiarity suddenly arising, and therefore in one 
sense deserving to be called a monstrosity, may, however, be 
increased and fixed by man's selection. We can hardly doubt 
that long-continued training, as with the greyhound in 
coursing hares, as with water-dogs in swimming — and the 
want of exercise, in the case of lapdogs — must have produced 
some direct effect on their structure and instincts. But we 
shall immediately see that the most potent cause of change 
has probably been the selection, both methodical and uncon- 
scious, of slight individual differences, — the latter kind of 
selection resulting from the occasional preservation, during 
hundreds of generations, of those individual dogs which were 
the most useful to man for certain purposes and under certain 
conditions of life. In a future chapter on Selection I shall 
show that even barbarians attend closely to the qualities of 
their dogs. This unconscious selection by man would be aided 

76 A. Murray gives this passage in his ' Geographical Distribution of Mammals,* 
tto, 1866, p. 8. 


by a kind of natural selection ; for the dogs of savages have 
parti} 7 to gain iheir own subsistence : for instance, in Aus- 
tralia, as Ave hear from Mr. Nincl, 77 the dogs are sometimes 
compelled by want to leave their masters and provide for 
themselves ; but in a few days they generally return. And 
we may infer that dogs of different shapes, sizes, and habits, 
would have the best chance of surviving under different 
circumstances, — on open sterile plains, w T here they have to 
run down their own prey, — on rocky coasts, where the} 7 have 
to feed on crabs and fish left in the tidal pools, as in the case 
of New Guinea and Tierra del Fuego. Jn this latter country, 
as I am informed by Mr. Bridges, the Catechist to the Mission, 
the dogs turn over the stones on the shore to catch the crus- 
taceans 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 w^ebbed. In dogs of the Newfoundland 
breed, which are eminently aquatic in their habits, the skin, 
according to Isidore Geoffroy, 78 extends to the third phalanges 
whilst in ordinary dogs it extends only to the second. In 
two Newfoundland dogs which I examined, when the toes 
were stretched apart and viewed on the under side, the skin 
extended in a nearly straight line between the outer margins 
of the balls of the toes ; whereas, in two terriers of distinct 
sub-breeds, the skin viewed in the same manner was deeply 
scooped out. In Canada there is a dog which is peculiar to 
the country and common there, and this has " half-webbed 
feet and is fond of the water." 79 English otter-hounds are 
said to have webbed feet : a friend examined for me the feet 
of two, in comparison with the feet of some harriers and 
bloodhounds ; he found the skin variable in extent in all, but 
more developed in the otter-hounds than in the others. 80 As 

77 Quoted by Mr. Galton, ' Domesti- vol. vi., 1833, p. 511. 

cation of Animals,' p. 13. 80 See Mr. C. 0. Gn>om-Napier on 

73 ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 450. the webbing of the hind feet of Otter- 

79 Mr. Greenhow on the Canadian hounds, in 'Land and Water,' Oct. 

Dog, in Loudon's ' Mag. of Nat.' 13th, 1866, p. 270. 

42 DOGS. Chap. I. 

aquatic animals which belong to quite different orders have 
webbed feet, there can be no doubt that this structure would 
be serviceable to dogs that frequent the water. We may 
confidently infer that no man ever selected his water-dogs 
by the extent to which the skin was developed between their 
toes ; but what he does, is to preserve and breed from those 
individuals which hunt best in the water, or best retrieve 
wounded game, and thus he unconsciously selects dogs with 
feet slightly better webbed. The effects of use from the 
frequent stretching apart of the toes will likewise aid in the 
result. Man thus closely imitates Natural Selection. We 
have an excellent illustration of this same process in North 
America, where, according to Sir J. Richardson, 81 all the 
wolves, foxes, and aboriginal domestic dogs have their feet 
broader than in the corresponding species of the Old World, 
and "well calculated for running on the snow." Now, in 
these Arctic regions, the life or death of every animal will 
often dejoend on its success in hunting over the snow when 
soft ; and this will in part depend on the feet being broad ; 
yet they must not be so broad as to interfere with the activity 
of the animal when the ground is sticky, or with its power 
of burrowing holes, or with other necessary habits of life. 

As changes in domestic breeds which take place so slowly 
are not to be noticed at any one period, whether due to the 
selection of individual variations or of differences resulting 
from crosses, are most important in understanding the origin 
of our domestic productions, and likewise in throwing indirect 
light on the changes effected under nature, I will give in detail 
such cases as I have been able to collect. Lawrence, 82 who 
paid particular attention to the history of the foxhound, 
writing in 1829, says that between eighty and ninety years 
before " an entirely new foxhound was raised through the 
breeder's art," the ears of the old southern hound being 
reduced, the bone and bulk lightened, the waist increased in 
length, and the stature somewhat added to. It is believed 
that this was effected by a cross with a greyhound. With 

81 'Fauna Boreal i-Americana,' 82 ' The Horse in all his Varieties,' 

1829, p. 62. &c, 1829, pp. 230, 234. 


respect to this latter dog, Youatt, 83 who is generally cautious 
in his statements, says that the greyhound within the last 
fifty years, that is before the commencement of the present 
century, " assumed a somewhat different character from that 
which he once possessed. He is now distinguished by a 
beautiful symmetry of form, of which he could not once 
boast, and he has even superior speed to that which he 
formerly exhibited. He is no longer used to struggle with 
deer, but contends with his fellows over a shorter and 
speedier course." An able writer 84 believes that our English 
greyhounds are the descendants, progressively improved, of the 
large rough greyhounds which existed in Scotland so early 
as the third century. A cross at some former period with 
the Italian greyhound has been suspected ; but this seems 
hardly probable, considering the feebleness of this latter 
breed. Lord Orford, as is well known, crossed his famous 
greyhounds, which failed in courage, with a bulldog — this 
breed being chosen from being erroneously supposed to be 
deficient in the power of scent ; " after the sixth or seventh 
generation," says Youatt, " there was not a vestige left of 
the form of the bulldog, but his courage and indomitable 
perseverance remained." 

Youatt infers, from a comparison of an old picture of King- 
Charles's spaniels with the living dog, that " the breed of the 
present day is materially altered for the worse :" the muzzle 
has become shorter, the forehead more prominent, and the eyes 
larger ; the changes in this case have probably been due to 
simple selection. The setter, as this author remarks in another 
place, " is evidently the large spaniel improved to his present 
peculiar size and beauty, and taught another way of marking 
his game. If the form of the dog were not sufficiently satis- 
factory on this point, we might have recourse to history : " 
he then refers to a document dated 1685 bearing on this 
subject, and adds that the pure Irish setter shows no signs 
of a cross with the pointer, which some authors suspect 
has been the case with the English setter. The bulldog is an 

83 'The Dog,' 1845, pp. 31, 35; 84 In the « Encyclop. of Rural 

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

44 DOGS. Chap. L 

English breed, and as I hear from Mr. G. R. Jesse, 85 seems to 
have originated from the mastiff since the time of Shakspearo ; 
but certainly existed in 1631, as shown by Prestwick Eaton's 
letters. There can be no doubt that the fancy bulldogs of 
the present day, now that they are not used for bull-baiting, 
have become greatly reduced in size, without any express 
intention on the part of the breeder. Our pointers are 
certainly descended from a Spanish breed, as even their 
present names, Don, Ponto, Carlos, &c, show ; it is said that 
they were not known in England before the Revolution in 
1688 ; 86 but the breed since its introduction has been much 
modified, for Mr. Borrow, who is a sportsman and knows 
Spain intimately well, informs me that he has not seen in 
that country any breed " corresponding in figure with the 
English pointer ; but there are genuine pointers near Xeres 
which have been imported by English gentlemen." A nearly 
parallel case is offered by the Newfoundland dog, which was 
certainly brought into England from that country, but which 
has since been so much modified that, as several writers have 
observed, it does not now closely resemble any existing native 
dog in Newfoundland. 87 

These several cases of slow and gradual changes in our 
English dogs possess some interest; for though the changes 
have generally, but not invariably, been caused by one or 
two crosses with a distinct breed, yet we may feel sure, from 
the well known extreme variability of crossed breeds, that 
rigorous and long-continued selection must have been prac- 
tised, in order to improve them in a definite manner. As 
soon as any strain or family became slightly improved or 
better adapted to alter circumstances, it would tend to 
supplant the older and less improved strains. For instance, 
as soon as the old foxhound was improved by a cross with the 
greyhound, or by simple selection, and assumed its present 

85 Author of ' Researches into the between the Esquimaux dog and a 
History of the British Dog. large French houud. See Dr. Hodgkin, 

86 See Col. Hamilton Smith on the 'Brit. Assoc.,' 1844; Bechstein's 
antiquity of the Pointer, in 'Nat. Lib.' 'Naturgesch. Deutschland,' Band. i. 
vol. x. p. 196. s. 574 ; ' Nat. Lib.,' vol. x. p. 132 ; also 

87 The Newfoundland dog is be- Mr. Jukes' ' Excursion in and about 
lieved to have originated from a cross Newfoundland.' 


character — and the change was probably desired owing to 
the increased fleetness of our hunters — it rapidly spread 
throughout the country, and is now everywhere nearly 
uniform. But the process of improvement is still going on 
for every one tries to improve his strain by occasionally 
procuring dogs from the best kennels. Through this process 
of gradual substitution the old English hound has been lost ; 
and so it has been with the Irish wolf-dog, the old English 
bulldog, and several other breeds, such as the alaunt, as I am 
informed by Mr. Jesse. But the extinction of former breeds 
is apparently aided by another cause ; for whenever a breed 
is kept in scanty numbers, as at present with the bloodhound, 
it is reared with some difficulty, apparently from the evil 
effects of long-continued close interbreeding. As several 
breeds of the dog have been slightly but sensibly modified 
within so short a period as the last one or two centuries, by 
the selection of the best individuals, modified in many cases 
by crosses with other breeds ; and as we shall hereafter see 
that the breeding of dogs was attended to in ancient times, 
as it still is by savages, we may conclude that we have in 
selection, even if only occasionally practised, a potent means 
of modification. 

Domestic Cats. 

Cats have been domesticated in the East from an ancient 
period ; Mr. Blyth informs me that they are mentioned in a 
Sanskrit writing 2000 years old, and in Egypt their antiquity 
is known to be even greater, as shown by monumental draw- 
ings and their mummied bodies. These mummies, according 
to De Blainville, 88 who has particularly studied the subject, 
belong to no less than three species, namely, F. caligulata, 
bubastes, and chaus. The two former species are said to be 
still found, both wild and domesticated, in parts of Egypt. 
F. caligulata presents a difference in the first inferior milk 
molar tooth, as compared with the domestic cats of Europe, 
which makes De Blainville conclude that it is not one of the 

88 De Blainville, 'Osteographie, other mummied species. He quotes 
^elis,' p. 65, on the character of F. Ehrenburg on F. maniculata being 
caligulata; pp. 85, 89, 90, 175, on the mummied. 

£6 DOMESTIC CATS. Chap. 1. 

parent-forms of our cats. Several naturalists, as Pallas, 
Temminck, Blyth, believe that domestic cats are the descend- 
ants 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 
the e crosses has been kept in our houses. I have seen," he 
adds " many cats very closely resembling the wild cat, and 
one or two that could scarcely be distinguished from it." Mr. 
Blyth 89 remarks on this passage, " but such cats are never 
seen in the southern parts of England ; still, as compared 
with any Indian tame cat, the affinity of the ordinary British 
cat to F. sylvestris is manifest ; and due I suspect to frequent 
intermixture at a time when the tame cat was first introduced 
into Britain and continued rare, while the wild species was 
far more abundant than at present." In Hungary, Jeitteles 90 
was assured on trustworthy authority that a wild male cat 
crossed with a female domestic cat, and that the hybrids long 
lived in a domesticated state. In Algiers the domestic cat 
has crossed with the wild cat (F. lybica) of that country. 91 
In South Africa as Mr. E. Layard informs me, the domestic 
cat intermingles freely with the wild F. caffra ; he has seen 
a pair of hybrids which were quite tame and particularly 
attached to the lady who brought them up ; and Mr. Fry has 
found that these hybrids are fertile. In India the domestic 
cat, according to Mr. Blyth, has crossed with four Indian species. 
With respect to one of these species, F. chaus, an excellent 
observer, Sir W. Elliot, informs me that he once killed, 
near Madras, a wild brood, which were evidently hybrids 
from the domestic cat ; these young animals had a thick 
lynx-like tail and the broad brown bar on the inside of the 
forearm characteristic of F. chaus. Sir W. Elliot adds that he 

89 Asiatic Soc. of Calcutta ; Cura- this Report a very interesting discus- 
tor's Report, Aug. 1856. The passage sion on their origim. 
from Sir W. Jardine is quoted from 00 'Fauna Hungarian Sup.,' 1862, 
this Report. Mr. Blyth, who has s. 12. 

especially attended to the wild and 91 Isid. Geoffroy Saint - Hilaire, 

domestic cats of India, has given in ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 177. 


has often observed this same mark on the forearms of domestic 
cats in India. Mr. Blyth states that domestic cats coloured 
nearly like F. chaus, but not resembling that species in shape, 
abound in Bengal; he adds, "such a colouration is utterly 
unknown in European cats, and the proper tabby markings 
(pale streaks on a black ground, peculiarly and symmetrically 
disposed), so common in English cats, are never seen in those 
of India." Dr. D. Short has assured Mr. Blyth 92 that, at 
Hansi, hybrids between the common cat and F. ornata (or 
torqnafa'") occur, " and that many of the domestic cats of that 
part of India were undistinguishable from the wild F. ornata'' 
Azara states, but only on the authority of the inhabitants, 
that in Paraguay the cat has crossed with two native species. 
From these several cases we see that in Europe, Asia, Africa, 
and America, the common cat, which lives a freer life than 
most other domesticated animals, has crossed with various 
wild species ; and that in some instances the crossing has 
been sufficiently frequent to affect the character of the 

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

"Within the same country we do not meet with distinct 
races of the cat, as we do of dogs and of most other domestic 
animals ; though the cats of the same country present a con- 
siderable amount of fluctuating variability. The explanation 
obviously is that, from their nocturnal and rambling habits, 
judiscriminate crossing cannot without much trouble be pre- 
vented. Selection cannot be brought into play to produce 
distinct breeds, or to keep those distinct which have been 

92 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1863, p. 184. 


imported from foreign lands. On the other hand, in islands 
and in countries completely separated from each other, we 
meet with breeds more or less distinct ; and these cases are 
worth giving, showing that the scarcity of distinct races in 
the same country is not caused by a deficiency of variability 
in the animal. The tailless cats of the Isle of Man are said 
to differ from common cats not only in the want of a tail, but 
in the greater length of their hind legs, in the size of their 
heads, and in habits. The Creole cat of Antigua, as I am 
informed by Mr. Nicholson, is smaller, and has a more elon- 
gated head, than the British cat. In Ceylon, as Mr. Thwaites 
writes to me, every one at first notices the different appear- 
ance of the native cat from the English animal ; it is of small 
size, with closely lying hairs ; its head is small, with a re- 
ceding forehead ; but the ears are large and sharp ; altogether 
it has what is there called a " low-caste " appearance. Eeng- 
ger 93 says that the domestic cat, which has been bred for 
300 years in Paraguay, presents a striking difference from the 
European cat; it is smaller by a fourth, has a more lanky 
body, its hair is short, shining, scanty, and lies close, espe- 
cially 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 illus- 
trates the importance of separation. The conditions of life 
in Paraguay appear not to be highly favourable to the cat, 
for, though they have run half- wild, they do not become 
thoroughly feral, like so many other European animals. In 
another part of South America, according to Eoulin, 94 the 
introduced cat has lost the habit of uttering its hideous 
nocturnal howl. The Eev. W. D. Fox purchased a cat in 
Portsmouth, which he was told came from the coast of 
Guinea ; its skin was black and wrinkled, fur bluish grey 
and short, its ears rather bare, legs long, and whole aspect 
peculiar. This " negro " cat was fertile with common cats. 
On the opposite coast of Africa, at Mombas, Captain Owen, 

93 ' Saugethiere von Paraguay,' Savans : Acad. Roy. des Sciences.' 
1830, s. 212. torn. vi. p. 346. Gomara first noticed 

** ' Mem. presented par divers this fact in 1554. 


K.N., 95 states that all the cats are covered with short stiff 
hair instead of fur : he gives a curious account of a cat from 
Algoa Bay, which had been kept for some time on board and 
could be identified with certainty ; this animal was left for 
only eight weeks at Mombas, but during that short period it 
" underwent a complete metamorphosis, having parted with 
its sandy-coloured fur." A cat from the Cape of Good Hope 
has been described by Desmarest as remarkable from a red 
stripe extending along the whole length of its back. Through- 
out an immense area, namely, the Malayan archipelago, Siam, 
Pegu, and Burmah, all the cats have truncated tails about 
half the proper length, 96 often with a sort of knot at the end. 
In the Caroline archipelago the cats have very long legs, and 
are of a reddish-yellow colour. 97 In China a breed has droop- 
ing ears. At Tobolsk, according to Gmelin, there is a red- 
coloured breed. In Asia, also, we find the well-known Angora 
or Persian breed. 

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

We have seen that distant countries possess distinct 
domestic races of the cat. The differences may be in part 
due to descent from several aboriginal species, or at least to 
crosses with them. In some cases, as in Paraguay, Mombas, 
and Antigua, the differences seem due to the direct action of 
different conditions of life. In other cases some slight effect 
may possibly be attributed to natural selection, as cats in 

95 ' Narrative of Voyages,' vol. ii. 97 Admiral Lutke's Voyage, vol. 

p. 180. iii. p. 308. 

yj J. Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet, of 9d ' Zoology of the Voyage of the 

the Indian Islands,' p. 255. The Beagle, Mammalia,' p. 20. PiefFen- 

Madiigascav cat is said to have a bach, 'Travels in New Z"aland, vol. 

twisted tail ; sec Desmarest, in ' En- ii. p. 185. Ch. St. John, ' Wild Sporta 

cyclop. Nat. Mamm.,' 1820, p. 233, of tne Highlands,' 1846, p. 40. 
for some of the other breeds. 


many cases have largely to support themselves and to escape 
diverse dangers. But man, owing to the difficulty of pairing 
cats, has done nothing by methodical selection ; and probably 
very little by unintentional selection ; though in each litter 
he generally saves the prettiest, and values most a good breed 
of mouse- or rat-catchers. Those cats which have a strong 
tendency to prowl after game, generally get destroyed by 
traps. As eats are so much petted, a breed bearing the same 
relation to other cats, that lapdogs bear to larger dogs, would 
have been much valued ; and if selection could have been 
applied, we should certainly have had many breeds in each 
long-civilized country, for there is plenty of variability to 
work upon. 

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

99 QuotfiU by IsiJ. Geoffrov. ' Hist. Nat, Gen., torn iii. p. 427. 






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

1 Rlitimever, 'Fauna der Pfahl- island having at least one peculiar to 
bauten,' 1861, s. 122. it." Thus in Sumatra there are at 

2 See Youatt on the Horse: J. least two breeds; in Achin and Batu- 
Lawrence on the Horse, 1829; W. C. bara one: in Java several breeds; 
L. Martin, ' History of the Horse,' one in Bali. Lomboc, Sumbawa (one 
1845: Col. H. Smith, in 'Nat. of the best breeds), Tarn bora, Bima, 
Library, Horses,' 18+1, vol. xii. : Gunung-api, Celebes, Sumba, and 
Prof. Veith, ' Die naturgesch. Haus- Philippines. Other breeds are speci- 
eaugethiere,' 1856. fled by Zollinger in the ' Journal of 

3 Crawfurd, ' Deseript. Diet, of the Indian Archipelago,' vol. v. p. 343, 
Indian Islands,' 1856, p. 153. "There &c. 

are many different breeds, every 

52 HORSES. Chap. H. 

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

4 'The Horse,' &c. by John Law- xxii., 1866, p. 22. 
rence, 1829, p. 14. 9 Mr. Percival, of the Enniskillen 

3 ' The Veterinary,' London, vol. v. Dragoons, in * The Veterinary,' vol. i. 

p. 543. p. 224: see Azara, ' Des Quadruples 

6 ' Memoire sur les chevaux a du Paraguay,' torn. ii. p. 313. The 
irente-quatre cotes,' 1871. French translator of Azara refers to 

7 Proc. Veterinary Assoc, in ' The other cases mentioned by Huzard as 
Veterinary,' vol. xiii. p. 42. having occurred in Spain. 

• < 

Bulletin de la Soc. G&olog.,' torn. 

Chap. II. 



which, the projections were between three and four inches in 
length : other instances have occurred in Spain. 

That there has been much inherited variation in the horse 
cannot be doubted, when we reflect on the number of the 
breeds existing throughout the world or even within the 
same country, and when we know that they have largely 
increased in number since the earliest known records. 10 Even 
in so fleeting a character as colour, Hofacker n found that, 
out of 216 cases in which horses of the same colour were 
paired, only eleven pairs produced foals of a quite different 
colour. As Professor Low 12 has remarked, the English race- 
horse offers the best possible evidence of inheritance. The 
pedigree of a race-horse is of more value in judging of its 
probable success than its appearance : " King Herod " gained 
in prizes 201,50oZ. sterling, and begot 497 winners ; " Eclipse ' 
begot 334 winners. 

Whether the whole amount of difference between 1he 
various breeds has arisen under domestication is doubtful. 
From the fertility of the most disti net breeds 13 when crossed, 
naturalists have generally looked at all the breeds as having 
descended from a single species. Few will agree with 
Colonel H. Smith, who believes that they have descended 
from no less than five primitive and differently coloured 
stocks. 14 But as several species and varieties of the horse 
existed 15 during the later tertiary periods, and as Riitimeyer 
found differences in the size and form of the skull in the 
earliest known domesticated horses, 16 we ought not to feel 
sure that all our breeds are descended from a single species. 

10 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. i. 
p. 378. 

11 ' Ueber die Eigenschaftcn,' &c, 
1828, s. 10. 

12 ' Domesticated Animals of tho 
British Islands,' pp. 527, 532. In all 
the veterinary treatises and papers 
which I have read, the writers insist 
in the strongest terms on the inherit- 
ance by the horse of all good and bad 
tendencies and qualities. Perhaps the 
principle of inheritance is not really 
stronger in the horse than in any other 
animal ; but, from its value, the 

tendency has been more carefully 

13 Andrew Knight crossed breeds so 
different in size as a dray-horse and 
Norwegian pony: see A. Walker on 
'Intermarriage,' 1838, p. 205. 

14 ' Nat. Library, Horses,' vol. xii. 
p. 208. 

15 Gervais, * Hist. Nat Mamm., 
torn. ii. p. 143. Owen, ' British Fossil 
Mammals,' p. 383. 

16 ' Kenntniss der fossil«n Pferde, 
1863, s. 131. 

54 HOUSES. Chap. IL 

The savages of North and South America easily reclaim the 
feral horses, so that there is no improbability in ravages in 
various quarters of the world having domesticated more than 
one native species or natural race. M. Sanson 17 thinks that 
he has proved that two distinct species have been domesti- 
cated, one in the East, and one in North Africa ; and that 
these differed in the number of their lumbar vertebra and in 
various other parts ; but M. Sanson seems to believe that osteo- 
logical characters are subject to very little variation, which 
is certainly a mistake. At present no aboriginal or truly 
wild horse is positively known to exist; for it is commonly 
believed that the wild horses of the East are escaped 
domestic animals. 18 If therefore our domestic breeds are 
descended from several species or natural races, all have 
become extinct in the wild state. 

With respect to the causes of the modifications which 
horses have undergone, the conditions of life seem to produce 
a considerable direct effect. Mr. D. Forbes, who has had 
excellent opportunities of comparing the horses of Spain 
with those of South America, informs me that the horses of 
Chile, which have lived under nearly the same conditions as 
their progenitors in Andalusia, remain unaltered, whilst the 
Pampas horses and the Puno ponies are considerably modified. 
There can be no doubt that horses become greatly reduced 
in size and altered in appearance by living on mountains 
and islands ; and this apparently is due to want of nutritious 
or varied food. Every one knows how small and rugged the 
ponies are on the Northern islands and on the mountains of 
Europe. Corsica and Sardinia have their native ponies ; and 
there were, 19 or still are, on some islands on the coast of 
Virginia, ponies like those of the Shetland Island >, which 
are believed to have originated through exposure to un- 
favourable conditions. The Puno ponies, which inhab.t the 

17 ' Comptes rendus,' 1866. p. 485, remarked on the improbability of man 
and ' Journal de 1'Anat. et de la Pbys.,' in ancient times having extirpated a 
Mai 1868. species in a region where it can now 

18 Mr. W. C. L. Martin ( ' The exist in numbers. 

Horse,' 1845, p. 34), in arguing 10 'Transact. Maryland Academy,' 

against the belief that the wild vol. i. part i. p. 28, 
Eastern horses are merely feral, has 


lofty regions of the Cordillera, are, as I hear from Mr. D. 
Forbes, strange little creatures, very unlike their Spanish 
progenitors. Further south, in the Falkland Islands, the 
offspring of the horses imported in 1764 have already so 
much deteriorated in size 20 and strength that they are un- 
fitted 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 
Loth southern and northern islands, and on several moun- 
tain-chains, can hardly have been caused by the cold, as a 
similar reduction has occurred on the Virginian and Medi- 
terranean islands. The horse can withstand intense cold, 
for wild troops live on the plains of Siberia under lat. 56 , 21 
and aboriginally the horses must have inhabited countries 
annually covered with snow, for he long retains the instinct 
of scraping it away to get at the herbage beneath. The 
wild tarpans in the East have this instinct ; and so it is, as 
I am informed by Admiral Sulivan, with the horses recently 
and formerly introduced into the Falkland Islands from 
La Plata, some of which have run wild ; this latter fact is 
remarkable, as the progenitors of these horses could not hive 
followed this instinct during many generations in La Plata. 
On the other hand, the wild cattle of the Falkland's never 
scrape away the snow, and perish when the ground is long 
covered. In the northern part3 of America the horses de- 
scended from those introduced by the Spanish conquerors of 
Mexico, have the same habit, as have the native bisons, but 
not so the cattle introduced from Europe. 22 

The horse can flourish under intense heat as well as under 
intense cold, for he is known to come to the highest perfec- 
tion, though not attaining a large size, in Arabia and 
northern Africa. Much humidity is apparently more in- 
jurous to the horse than heat or cold. In the Falkland 
Islands, horses suffer much from the dampness; and this 

20 Mr. Mackinnon on * The Falkland burgh,' 1777, part ii. p 265. With 
islands/ p. 25. The average height of respect to the tarpans scraping away 
the Falkland horses is said to be 14 the snow, tee Col. Hamilton Smith in 
hands '1 inches. See also my ' Journal ' Nat. Lib.,' vol. xii. p. 165. 

of Researches.' 22 Franklin's ' Narrative,' vol. i. p. 

21 Pallas, « Act. *.rad. St. Peters- 87 ; note by Sir J. Richardaon. 

56 HORSES. Chap. IL 

circumstance may perhaps partly account for the singular 
fact that to the eastward of the Bay of Bengal, 23 over an 
enormous and humid area, in Ava, Pegu, Siam, the Malayan 
archipelago, the Loo Choo Islands, and a large part of 
China, no full-sized horse is found. When we advance as 
far eastward as Japan, the horse reacquires his full size. 24 

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

It is scarcely possible to doubt that the long-continued 
selection of qualities serviceable to man has been the chief 
agent in the formation of the several breeds of the horse. 
Look at a dray-horse, and see how well adapted he is to draw 
heavy weights, and how unlike in appearance to any allied 
wild animal. The English race-horse is known to be de- 
rived from the commingled blood of Arabs, Turks, and 
Barbs ; but selection, which was carried on during very early 

23 Mr. J. H. Moor, ' Notices of the Service Institution,' vol. iv. 

Indian Archipelago ;' Singapore, 1837, 25 'Essays on Natural History,' 2nd 

p. 189. A pony from Java was sent series, p. 161. 

('Athenaeum,' 1842, p. 718) to the 2a ' Quadru pedes du Paraguay,' 

Queen only 28 inches in height. For torn. ii. p. 333. Dr. Canfield informs 

the Loo Choo Islands, see Beechey's me that a breed with curly hair was 

* Vcyage,' 4th edit., vol. i. p. 499. formd by selection at Los Angeles in 

24 J. Jrawfbrd, ' History of the North America,. 
Horse ; ' ' Journal of Royal United 

Chap. II. 



times in England, 27 together with training, have made him a 
very different animal from his parent-stocks. As a writer in 
India, who evidently knows the pure Arab well, asks, who 
now, " looking at our present breed of race-horses, could have 
conceived that they were the result of the union of the Arab 
horse and African mare ? " The improvement is so marked 
that in running for the Goodwood Cup " the first descendants 
•of Arabian, Turkish, and Persian horses, are allowed a dis- 
count of 18 lbs. weight ; and when both parents are of these 
countries a discount of 06 lbs. 28 It is notorious that the 
Arabs have long been as careful about the pedigree of their 
horses as we are, and this implies great and continued care 
in breeding. Seeing what has been done in England by 
careful breeding, can we doubt that the Arabs must likewise 
have produced during the course of centuries a marked effect 
on the qualities of their horses? But we may go much 
farther back in time, for in the Bible we hear of studs care- 
fully kept for breeding, and of horses imported at high prices 
from various countries. 29 We may therefore conclude that, 
whether or not the various existing breeds of the horse have 
proceeded from one or more aboriginal stocks, yet that a great 
amount of change has resulted from the direct action of the 
conditions of life, and probably a still greater amount from 
the long-continued selection by man of slight individual 

With several domesticated quadrupeds and birds, certain 
coloured marks are either strongly inherited or tend to re- 
appear after having been lost for a long time. As this 
subject will hereafter be seen to be of importance, I will give 
a full account of the colouring of horses. All English breeds, 

27 See the evidence on this head in 
'Land and Water,' May 2nd, 1868. 

28 Prof. Low, ' Domesticated Ani- 
mals,' p. 546. With respect to the 
writer in India, see ' India Sporting 
Review,' vol. ii. p. 181. As Lawrence 
has remarked ( ' The Horse,' p. 9), 
** perhaps no instance has ever oc- 
curred of a three-part bred horse (i.e. 
a horse, one of whose grandparents 
was of impure blood) saving his dis- 

tance in running two miles with 
thoroughbred racers." Some few in- 
stances are on record of seven-eights 
racers having been successful. 

29 Prof. Gervais (in his ' Hist. Nat. 
Mamm.,' torn. ii. p. 14-4) has collected 
manv facts on this head. For instance, 
Solomon (Kings, B. i. ch. x. v. 28) 
bought horses in Egypt at a high 



Chap. IL 

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

30 'The Field,' July 13th, 1861, p. 

31 E. Vernon Harcourt, ' Sporting 
in Algeria,' p. 26. 

32 1 state this from my own obser- 
vations made during several years on 
the colours of horses. I have seen 
cream-coloured, light-dun and mouse- 
dun horses dappled, which I mention 

because it has beeu stated (Martin, 
4 History of the Horse,' p. 134) that 
duns are never dappled. Martin (p. 
205) refers to dappled asses. In the 
Farrier ' (London, 1828, pp. 453, 455) 
there are some good remarks on the 
dappling of horses ; and likewise in 
Col. Hamilton Smith on l The Horse.' 

Chap. II. 



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 tact. Horses of all colours, of the most diverse breeds, 
in various parts of the world, often have a dark stripe extending 
along the spine, from the mane to the tail; but this is so common 
that I need enter into no particulars. 33 Occasionally horses are 
transversely barred on the legs, chiefly on the under side; and more 
rarely they have a distinct stripe on the shoulder, like that on the 
shoulder of the ass, or a broad dark patch representing a stripe. 
Before entering on any details I must premise that the term dun- 
coloured is vague, and includes three groups of colours, viz., that 

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

between cream-colour and reddish-brown, which graduates into 
light-bay or light-chestnut — this, I believe is often called fallow- 
dun ; secondly, leaden or slate-colour or mouse-dun, which graduates 
into an ash-colour; and, lastly, dark-dun, between brown and black. 
In England I have examined a rather large, lightly-built, fallow- 
dun Devonshire pony (fig. 1), with a conspicuous stripe along the 
back, with light transverse stripes on the under sides of its front 
legs, and with four parallel stripes on each shoulder. Of these four 
stripes the posterior one was very minute and faint ; the anterior 
•one, on the other hand, was long and broad, but interrupted in the 

33 Some details are given in 'The 
Farrier,' 1828, pp. 452, 455. One of 
the smallest ponies I ever saw, of the 
colour of a mouse, had a conspicuous 
spinal stripe. A small Indian chest- 

nut pony had the same stripe, as had 
a remarkably heavy chestnut cart- 
horse. Race-horses often have the 
spinal stripe. 

60 HORSES. Chap. IL 

middle, and truncated at its lower extremity, with the anterior 
angle produced into a long tapering point. I mention this latter 
fact because the shoulder- stripe of the ass occasionally presents 
exactly the same appearance. I have had an outline and description 
sent to me of a small, purely-bred, light fallow-dun Welch pony, 
with a spinal stripe, a single transverse stripe on each leg, and three 
shoulder-stripes ; the posterior stripe corresponding with that on 
the shoulder of the ass was the longest, whilst the two anterior 
parallel stripes, arising from the mane, decreased in length, in a 
reversed manner as compared with the shoulder-stripes on the 
above-described Devonshire pony. I have seen a bright fallow-dun 
cob, with its front legs transversely barred on the under sides in the 
most conspicuous manner ; also a dark-leaden mouse -coloured pony 
with similar leg stripes, but much less conspicuous ; also a bright 
fallow- dun colt, fully three-parts thoroughbred, with very plain 
transvere stripes on the legs ; also a chestnut-dun cart-horse with 
a conspicuous spinal stripe, with distinct traces of shoulder-stripes, 
but none on the legs ; I could add other cases. My son made a 
sketch for me of a large, heavy, Belgian cart-horse, of a fallow-dun, 
with a conspicuous spinal stripe, traces of leg-stripes, and with two 
parallel (three inches apart) stripes about seven or eight inches in 
length on both shoulders. I have seen another rather light cart- 
horse, of a dirty dark cream-colour, with striped legs, and on one 
shoulder a large ill-defined dark cloudy patch, and on the opposite 
shoulder two parallel faint stripes. All the cases yet mentioned are 
duns of various tints ; but Mr. W. W. Edwards has seen a nearly 
thoroughbred chestnut horse which had the spinal stripe, and 
distinct bars on the legs ; and I have seen two bay carriage-horses 
with black spinal stripes; one of these horses had on each shoulder 
a light shoulder-stripe, and the other had a broad back ill-defined 
stripe, running obliquely half-way down each shoulder ; neither had 

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


and Burchell's zebra. When this foal was two or three months old 
all the stripes entirely disappeared. I have seen similar marks on 
the forehead of a fully grown, fallow-dnn, cob-like horse, having 
a conspicuous spinal stripe, and with its front legs well barred. 

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

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

34 I have received information, vol. xii. p. 275. 

through the kindness of the Consul- 36 Mr. G. Clark, in ' Annal and Mag. 

General, Mr. J. R. Crowe, from Prof. of Nat. History,' 2nd series, vol. ii. 

Boeck, Rasck, and Esmarck, on the 1848, p. 363. Mr. Wallace informs 

colours of the Norwegian ponies. See me that he saw in Java a dun and 

also 'The Field,' 1861, p. 431 clay-coloured horse with spinal and 

35 Col. Hamilton Smith, ' Nat. Lib. leg stripes. 

62 HORSES. Ch*p. IL 

two Chinese breeds, viz. those of Shanghai and Amoy ; both had the 
spinal stripe, and the latter an indistinct shonlder-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 dusty black), and rarely 
when almost white tinged with yellow, grey, bay, and chestnut, have 
the several above-specified stripes. Horses which are of a yellow 
colour with white mane and tail, and which are sometimes called 
duns, I have never seen with stripes. 37 

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

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

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

37 See, also, on this point, ' The 39 ' Ueber die Eigenschaften.' &c, 
Field,' Julv 27th, 1861, p. 91. 1828, s. 13, 14. 

38 'The" Field,' 1861, pp. 431, 493 40 Von Nathusius, < Vortriige liber 
545. Viehzucht,' 1872, 135. 


coexist on the different parts of the body : the legs may he 
striped without any shoulder-stripe, or the converse case, 
which is rarer, may occur ; but I have never heard of either 
shoulder or leg-stripes without the spinal stripe. The latter is 
by far the commonest of all the stripes, as might have been 
expected, as it characterises the other seven or eight species 
of the genus. It is remarkable that so trifling a character as 
the shoulder-stripe being double or triple should occur in 
such different breeds as Welch and Devonshire ponies, the 
Shan pony, heavy cart-horses, light South American horses, 
and the lanky Kattywar breed. Colonel Hamilton Smith 
believes that one of his five supposed primitive stocks was 
dun- coloured and striped ; and that the stripes in all the 
other breeds result from ancient crosses with this one primi- 
tive dun ; but it is extremely improbable that different 
breeds living in such distant quarters of the world should all 
have been crossed with any one aboriginally distinct stock. 
Nor have we any reason to believe that the effects of a cross 
at a very remote period would be propagated for so many 
generations as is implied on this view. 

With respect to the primitive colour of the horse having 
been dun, Colonel Hamilton Smith 41 has collected a large 
body of evidence showing that this tint was common in the 
East as far back as the time of Alexander, and that the wild 
horses of Western Asia and Eastern Europe now are, or re- 
cently were, of various shades of dun. It seems that not very 
long ago a wild breed of dun-coloured horses with a spinal 
stripe was preserved in the royal parks in Prussia. I hear 
from Hungary that the inhabitants of that country look at 
the duns with a spinal stripe as the aboriginal stock, and so 
it is in Norway. Dun-coloured ponies are not rare in the 
mountainous parts of Devonshire, Wales, and Scotland, where 
the aboriginal breed would have the best chance of being 

41 'Nat. Library,' vol. xii. (1841), the East, who speaks of dun and brown 

pp. 109, 156 to 163, 280, 281. as the prevalent colours. In the 

Cream-colour, passing into Isabella Icelandic sagas, which were committed 

(i.e. the colour of the dirty linen of to writing in the twelfth century, 

Queen Isabella), seems to have been dun-coloured horses with a black 

common in ancient times. See also spinal stripe are mentioned; see 

Pallas's account of the wild horses of Dasent's translation, vol. i. p. 169 



Chap. II. 

preserved. In South. America in the time of Azara, when 
the horse had been feral for about 250 years, 90 out of a 100 
horses were " bai-chatains," and the remaining ten were 
" zains," that is brown ; not more than one in 2000 being 
black. In North America the feral horses show a strong 
tendency to become roans of various shades ; but in certain 
parts, as I hear from Dr. Canfield, they are mostly duns and 
striped. 42 

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

42 Azara, i Quadrupedos du Para- 
guay,' torn. ii. p. 307. In North 
America, Catlin (vol. ii. p. 57) de- 
scribes the wild horses, believed to 
have descended from the Spanish 
horses of Mexico, as of all colours, 
black, grey, roan, and roan pied with 
sorrel. F. Michaux ('Travels in 
North America,' Kng. translat., p. 235") 

describes two wild horses from Mexico 
as roan. In the Falkland Islands, 
where the horse has been feral onlv 
between 60 and 70 years, I was told 
that roans and iron-grevs were the 
prevalent colours. These several facts 
show that horses do not soon revert 
to any uniform coW- 


the probability of the descent of all the existing races from a 
single, dun-coloured, more or less striped, primitive stock, to 
which our horses occasionally revert. 

The Ass. 

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

43 Dr. Sclater, in 'Proc. Zoolog. Horse,' 1845, p. 207. 

Soc.,' 1862, p. 164. Dr. Hartmann 45 Col. Sykes' Cat. of Mammalia, 

says (' Annalen der Landw.' B. xliv. p. ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc' July 12th, 1831. 

222) that this animal in its wild state Williamson, ' Oriental Field Sports,* 

is not always striped across the legs. vol. ii., ouoted by Martin, p. 206. 

" VV C. Martin, 'History of the 

66 ASSES : Chap. II. 

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

The shoulder stripe on the ass is sometimes double, and 
Mr. Blyth has seen even three or four parallel stripes. 48 ] 
have observed in ten cases shoulder-stripes abruptly trun 
cated at the lower end, with the anterior angle produced into 
a tapering point, precisely as in the above dun Devonshire 

46 Blyth, in « Charlesworth's Mag. ' The Horse,' p. 205. 

of Nat. Hist.,' vol iv., 1840, p. 83. I 48 ' Journal As. Soc. of Bengal.' vol. 

have also been assured by a breeder xxviii. 1860, p. 231. Martin on the 

that this is the case. Horse, p. 205 

47 One case is given by Martin, 


pony. I have seen three cases of the terminal portion 

abruptly and angularly bent ; and have seen and heard of 
four cases of a distinct though slight forking of the stripe. 
In Syria, Dr. Hooker and his party observed for me no less 
than five similar instances of the shoulder-stripe plainly 
bifurcating over the fore leg. In the common mule it like- 
wise sometimes bifurcates. When I first noticed the forking 
and angular bending of the shoulder-stripe, I had seen enough 
of the stripes in the various equine species to feel convinced 
that even a character so unimportant as this had a distinct 
meaning, and was thus led to attend to the subject. I now 
find that in the E. burchellii and quagga, the stripe which 
corresponds with the shoulder-stripe of the ass, as well as 
some of the stripes on the neck, bifurcate, and that some of 
those near the shoulder have their extremities bent angularly 
backwards. The bifurcation and angular bending of the 
stripes on the shoulders apparently are connected with the 
nearly upright stripes on the sides of the body and neck 
changing their direction and becoming transverse on the legs. 
Finally, we see that the presence of shoulder, leg, and spinal 
stripes in the horse, — their occasional absence in the ass, — 
the occurrence of double and triple shoulder-stripes in both 
animals, and the similar manner in which these stripes ter- 
minate downwards,— are all cases of analogous variation in 
the horse and ass. These cases are probably not due to 
similar conditions acting on similar constitutions, but to a 
partial reversion in colour to the common progenitor of the 
genus. We shall hereafter return to this subject, and discuss 
it more fully. 








The breeds of the pig have recently been more closely studied, 
though much still remains to be done, than those of almost any 
other domesticated animal. This has been effected by Her- 
mann von Nathusius in two admirable works, especially in the 
later one on the Skulls of the several races, and by Riitimeyer 
in his celebrated Fauna of the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings. 1 
Nathusius has shown that all the known breeds may be 
divided into two great groups : one resembling in all im- 
portant respects and no doubt descended from the common 
wild boar ; so that this may be called the Sus scrofa group. 
The other group differs in several important and constant 
osteological characters ; its wild parent-form is unknown ; 
the name given to it by Nathusius, according to the law of 
priority, is Sus indicus, of Pallas. This name must now be 
followed, though an unfortunate one, as the wild aboriginal 

1 Hermann von Nathusius, 'Die 'Schweinesch'adel,' Berlin, 1864. Riiti- 
Racen des Schweines,' Berlin, 1860; meyer, ' Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten, 
and ' Vorstudien fur Geschichte,' &c., Basel, 1861. 


does not inhabit India, and the best -known domesticated 
breeds have been imported from Siam and China. 

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

The wild Sus scrofa has a wide range, namely, Europe, 
North Africa, as identified by osteological characters by Eiiti- 
meyer, and Hindostan, as similiarly identified by Nathusius. 
But the wild boars inhabiting these several countries differ 
so much from each other in external characters, that they have 
been ranked by some naturalists as specifically distinct. Even 
within Hindostan these animals, according to Mr. Blyth, 
form very distinct races in the different districts ; in the N. 
Western provinces, as I am informed by the Eev. E. Everest, 
the boar never exceeds 36 inches in height, whilst in Bengal 
one has been measured 44 inches in height. In Europe, 
Northern Africa, and Hindostan, domestic pigs have been 
known to cross with the wild native species; 3 and in 

2 Nathusius, ' Die Racen des published on the fertility of the off- 
Schweines,' Berlin, 1860. An excel- spring from wild and tame swine, 
lent appendix is given with references se<?Burdach's 'Physiology,' and Godron 
to published and trustworthy draw- ' De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 370. For 
ings of the breeds of each country. Africa, ' Bull, de la Soc. dAcclimat.,' 

3 For Europe, see Bechstein, 'Na- torn. iv. p. 389. For India, see Nathu- 
turgesch. Deutschlands,' 1801, B. i., s. sins, 'Schweineschadel,' s. 148. 

505. Several accounts have been 


Hindostan an accurate observer, 4 Sir Walter Elliot, after 
describing the differences between wild Indian and wild 
German boars, remarks that " the same differences are per- 
ceptible in the domesticated individuals of the two countries." 
We may therefore conclude that the breeds of the Sus scrofa 
type are descended from, or have been modified by crossing 
with, forms which may be ranked as geographical races, but 
which, according to some naturalists, ought to be ranked as 
distinct species. 

Pigs of the Sus indicus type are best known to Englishmen 
under the form of the Chinese breed. The skull of S. indicus, 
as described by Nathusius, differs from that of S. scrofa in 
several minor respects, as in its greater breadth and in some 
details in the teeth ; but chiefly in the shortness of the lachry- 
mal bones, in the greater width of the fore part of the palate- 
bones, and in the divergence of the premolar teeth. It 
deserves especial notice that these latter characters are not 
gained, even in the least degree, by the domesticated forms 
of S. scrofa. After reading the remarks and descriptions 
given b} 7 " Nathusius, it seems to me to be merely playing 
with words to doubt whether S. indicus ought to be ranked 
as a species ; for the above-specified differences are more 
strongly marked than any that can be pointed out between, 
for instance, the fox and the wolf, or the ass and the horse. 
As already stated, S. indicus is not known in a wild state ; 
but its domesticated forms, according to Nathusius, come 
near to S. vittatus of Java and some allied species. A pig 
found wild in the Aru islands (Schweineschadel, s. 169) is 
apparently identical with S. indicus: but it is doubtful 
whether this is a truly native animal. The domesticated 
breeds of China, Cochin-China, and Siam belong to this type. 
The Eoman or Neapolitan breed, the Andalusian, the Hun- 
garian, and the " Krause " swine of Nathusius, inhabiting 
south-eastern Europe and Turkey, and having fine curly hair, 
and the small Swiss " Biindtnerschwein " of Rutimeyer, all 
agree in their more important skull-characters with S. indicus, 
and, as is supposed, have all been largely crossed with this 

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


form. Pigs of this type have existed during a long period 
on the shores of the Mediterranean, for a figure (Schweine- 
schtidel, s. 142) closely resembling the existing Neapolitan pig 
was found in the buried city of Herculaneum. 

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

Several breeds, differing in the proportions of the body, in 
the length of the ears, in the nature of the hair, in colour, &c, 
come under the S, indicus type. Nor is this surprising, con- 
sidering how ancient the domestication of this form has been 
both in Europe and in China. In this latter country the 
date is believed by an eminent Chinese scholar 7 to go back 
at least 4900 years from the present time. This same scholar 
alludes to the existence of many local varieties of the pig in 
China ; and at the present time the Chinese take extraordi- 
nary pains in feeding and tending their pigs, not even 
allowing them to walk from place to place. 8 Hence these 
pigs, as Nathusius has remarked, 9 display in an eminent degree 

Pfahlbauten.' s. 163, et passim. 7 Stan. Julien, quoted by de Blain- 

5 l 

6 &?eJ.W.Schiitz' interesting essay, ville, ' Osteographie,' p. 163. 
■Zur Kenntniss des Torfschweins,' 8 Richardson, 'Pigs, their Origin,' 

1868. This author believes that the &c, p. 26. 

Torfschwein is descended from a 9 ' Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 47, 

distinct species, the S. senmriensis of 64. 
Central Africa. 


the characters of a highly - cultivated race, and hence, no 
doubt, their high value in the improvement of our European 
breeds. Nathusius makes a remarkable statement (Schweine- 
schadel, s. 138), that the infusion of the ^Vnd, or even of the 
^th, part of the blood of S. indicus into a breed of S. scrofa, 
is sufficient plainly to modify the skull of the latter species. 
This singular fact may perhaps be accounted for by several 
of the chief distinctive characters of S. indicus, such as the 
shortness of the lachrymal bones, &c, being common to 
several species of the genus ; for in crosses characters which 
are common to many species apparently tend to be prepotent 
over those appertaining to only a few species. 

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

10 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1861, p. 263. in a very interesting essay, ' Der 

11 Sclater, in 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' Schadel des Maskenschweines,' 1870. 
Feb. 26th, 1861. He confirms the conclusion of von 

12 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1862, p. 13. Nathusius on the relationship of this 
The skull has since been described kind of pig. 

much more fully by Professor Lucae 

Chap. III. 



wonderful instance of the amount of modification which can 
be effected under domestication. 

Formerly there existed in the central islands of the Pacific 
Ocean a singular breed of pigs. These are described by the 
Bev. D. Tyerman and G. Bennett 13 as of small size, hump- 
backed, with a disproportionately long head, with short ears 

Fig. 2.— Head of Japan or Masked Pig. (Copied from Mr. Bartktt's paper in « Troc. Zoolog. 

Soc' 1861, p. 263.) 

turned backwards, with a bushy tail not more than two inches 
in length, placed as if it grew from the back. Within half a 
century after the introduction of European and Chinese pigs 
into these islands, the native breed, according to the above 
authors, became almost completely lost by being repeatedly 
crossed with them. Secluded islands, as might have been 

13 ' Journal of Voyages and Travels from 1821 to 1829/ vol. i. p. 300. 


expected, seem favourable for the production or retention of 
peculiar breeds ; thus, in the Orkney Islands, the hogs have 
been described as very small, with erect and sharp ears, and 
" with an appearance altogether different from the hogs 
brought from the south." u 

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

The modification of the skull in the most highly cultivated 
races is wonderful. To appreciate the amount of change, 
Nathusius' work, with its excellent figures, should be studied. 
The whole of the exterior in all its parts has been altered : 
the hinder surface, instead of sloping backwards, is directed 
forwards, entailing many changes in other parts ; the front 
of the head is deeply concave ; the orbits have a different 
shape; the auditory meatus has a different direction and 
shape ; the incisors of the upper and lower jaws do not touch 
each other, and they stand in both jaws beyond the plane of 
the molars ; the canines of the upper jaw stand in front of 
those of the lower jaw, and this is a remarkable anomaly : 
the articular surfaces of the occipital condyles are so greatly 
changed in shape, that, as Nathusius remarks (s. 133), no 
naturalist, seeing this important part of the skull by itself, 
would suppose that it belonged to the genus Sus. These 

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




and various other modifications, as Nathusius observes, can 
hardly be considered as monstrosities, for they are not in- 
jurious, and are strictly inherited. The whole head is much 
shortened ; thus, whilst in common breeds its length to that 
of the body is as 1 to 6, 
in the " cultur-racen " 
the proportion is as 1 
to 9, and even recently 
as 1 to ll. 15 The fol- 
lowing woodcut 16 of the 
head of a wild boar and 
of a sow from a photo- 
graph of the Yorkshire 
Large Breed, may aid 
in showing how greatly 
the head in a highly 
cultivated race has been 
modified and shortened. 
Nathusius has well 
discussed the causes of 
the remarkable changes 
in the skull and shape 
of the body which the 
highly cultivated races 
have undergone. These 
modifications occur 
chiefly in the pure and 
crossed races of the S. 
indicus type ; but their 
commencement may 
be clearly detected in 
the slightly improved 

breeds of the S. SCrofa Ffe.3._ Head of Wild Boar, and of "Golden Days," t 

tvne 17 ^athn«Jin« s+n+oo P iK of the York-hire Large Breed; the latter from a 
lOTtJ. l>amUSlUS States phorosraph. (Copied from Sidney's edit, of 'The 

positively (s. 99,103), Pte,' by Yona-t.) 

as the result of common experience and of his experiments, 

is T?' e Ra ° en deS Schweines >' s - 70. excellent edition of < The Pig,' by 
lhese woodcuts are copied from Youatt, 1860. See pp. 1, 16, 19. 
engravings given in Mr. S. Sidney's » < Schweineschadel,' s. 74, 135. 


tliat rich and abundant food, given during youth, tends by 
some direct action to make the head broader and shorter ; 
and that poor food works a contrary result. He lays much 
stress on the fact that all wild and semi-domesticated pigs, 
in ploughing up the ground with their muzzles, have, 
whilst young, to exert the powerful muscles fixed to the 
hinder part of the head. In highly cultivated races this 
habit is no longer followed, and consequently the back of 
the skull becomes modified in shape, entailing other changes 
in other parts. There can hardly be a doubt that so great 
a change in habits would affect the skull ; but it seems 
rather doubtful how far this will account for the greatly 
reduced length of the skull and for its concave front. It is 
well known (Nathusius himself advancing many cases, 
s. 104) that there is a strong tendency in many domestic 
animals — in bull- and pug-dogs, in the niata cattle, in 
sheep, in Polish fowls, short-faced tumbler pigeons, and in 
one variety of the carp — for the bones of the face to become 
greatly shortened. In the case of the dog, as H. 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 see also that the 
skull and limbs are apparently in some manner correlated, 
so that any change in the one tends to affect the other. 

Nathusius has remarked, and the observation is an in- 
teresting one, that the peculiar form of the skull and body 
in the most highly cultivated races is not characteristic of 
any one race, but is common to all when improved up to the 
same standard. Thus the large-bodied, long-eared, English 
breeds with a convex back, and the small-bodied, short-eared, 
Chinese breeds with a concave back, when bred to the same 
state of perfection, nearly resemble each other in the form 
of the head and body. This result, it appears, is partly due 
to similar causes of change acting on the several races, and 

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


partly to man breeding the pig for one sole purpose, namely, 
for the greatest amount of flesh and fat ; so that selection has 
always tended towards one and the same end. With most 
domestic animals the result of selection has been divergence 
of character, here it has been convergence. 19 

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

The difference in the number of the 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. 

19 ' Die Racen des Schweines,' s. 47. have been lost. I have added together 
' Schweineschadel,' s. 104. Compare, the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, owing 
also, the figures of the old Irish and to Prof. Owen's remarks (' Journal 
the improved Irish breeds in Richard- Linn. Soc. vol. ii. p. 28) on the differ- 
son on ' The Pig,' 1847. ence between dorsal and lumbar 

20 Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy, ' Hist. vertebras depending only on the 
Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. p 441. development of the ribs. Nevertheless 

21 S. Sidney, 'The Pig,' p. 61. the difference in the number of the 

22 ' Schweineschadel,' s. 2,20. ribs in pigs deserves notice. M. 

23 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1837, p. 23. Sanson gives the number of lumbar 
I have not given the caudal vertebras, vertebras in various pigs; 'Coniptes 
as Mr. Eyton says some might possibly Rendus,' lxiii. p. 843. 



Chap. III. 

Eyton informs me that, since the publication of this paper, 
cross-bred animals from the African and English races were 
found by Lord Hill to be perfectly fertile. 




A f i ican 


Wild Boar 
from Cuvier. 



Boar, from 


Dorsal vertebrae .. 






14 J 14 
5 5 

Dorsal and lumbar \ 
together . . . . / 






Total number ofl 
vertebra . . / 






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

Another curious anomaly is offered by the appendages, 
described by M. Eudes-Deslongchamps as often characterizing 
the Normandy pigs. These appendages are always attached 
to the same spot, to the corners of the jaw ; they are cylin- 

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

Chap. Ill 



drical, about three inches in length, covered with bristles, 
and with a pencil of bristles rising out of a sinus on one 
side : they have a cartilaginous centre, with two small longi- 
tudinal muscles: they occur either symmetrically on both 
sides of the face or on one side alone. Eichardson figures 
them on the gaunt old " Irish Greyhound pig ; " and Nathu- 
sius states that they occasionally appear in all the long eared 

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

races, but are not strictly inherited, for they occur or fail in 
animals of the same litter. 25 As no wild pigs are known tc 
have analogous appendages, we have at present no reason to 
suppose that their appearance is due to reversion ; and if 
this be so, we are forced to admit that a somewhat com- 
plex, though apparently useless, structure may be suddenly 
developed without the aid of selection. 

It is a remarkable fact that the boars of all domesticated 
breeds have much shorter tusks than wild boars. Many facts 
show that with many animals the state of the hair is much 
affected by exposure to, or protection from, climate ; and as 
we see that the state of the hair and teeth are correlated in 
Turkish dogs (other analogous facts will be hereafter given), 
may we not venture to surmise that the reduction of the tusks 

25 Eudes Deslongchamps, 'Me - * Pigs, their Origin, &c,' 1847, p. 30 
moires de la Soe. Linn, de Normandie,* Nathusius, ' Die Kacen des Schweines,' 
vol. vii., 1842, p. 41. Richardson, 1863, °. 54. 



Chap. Ill 

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 thut the tusks should be more 
affected than the other teeth ; as parts developed to serve 
as secondary sexual characters are always liable to much 

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

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

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

28 With respect to the several fore- 
going and following statements on 
feral pigs, see Roulin, in ' Mem. pre- 
sented par divers Savans a l'Acad.,' 
&c, Paris, torn. vi. 1835, p. 326. It 
should be observed that his account 
does not apply to truly feral pigs ; 
but to pigs long introduced into the 
country and living in a half-wild 
state. For the truly feral pigs of 
Jamaica, see Gosse's ' Sojourn in 
Jamaica,' 1851, p. 386 ; and Ool 

Hamilton Smith, in ' Nat. Library, 
vol. ix. p. 93. With respect to Africa 
see Livingstone's ' Expedition to the 
Zambesi,' 1865, p. 153. The most 
precise statement with respect to the 
tusks of the West Indian feral boars is 
by P. Labat (quoted by Roulin) ; but 
this author attributes the state of 
these pigs to descent from a domes-tic 
stock which he saw in Spain. Admiral 
Sulivan, R.N., had ample opportunities 
of observing the wild pigs on Eagle 
Islet in the Falklands ; and he informs 
me that they resembled wild boars 
with bristly ridged backs and large 
tusks. The pigs which have run wild 
in the province of Buenos Ayres 
(Rengger, ' Saugethiere,' s. 331) have 
not reverted to the wild type. De 
Blainville (' Osteographie,' p. 132) 
refers to two skulls of domestic pigs 


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

sent from Patagonia by Al. d'Orbigny, lier, mais il est presque tout noir, et 

and he states that they have the peut-etre un peu plus ramasse dans 

occipital elevation of the wild European ses formes." 

boar, but that the head altogether is 29 Gosse's ' Jamaica,' p. 386, with a 

" plus courte et plus ramassee." He quotation from Williamson's ' Oriental 

lefers, also, to the skin of a feral pig Field Sports.' Also Col. Hamilton 

from North America, and says, "il Smith, in 'Naturalist Library,' vol. 

ressemble tout a fait a un petit san?- ix. p. 04. 


82 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

the feral pigs of Jamaica. From these several facts we see 
that with pigs when feral there is a strong tendency to 
revert to the wild type ; but that this tendency is largely 
governed by the nature of the climate, amount of exercise, 
and other causes of change to which they have been 

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


Domestic cattle are certainly the descendants of more than 
one wild form, in the same manner as has been shown to be the 
case with our dogs and pigs. Naturalists have generally 
made two main divisions of cattle : the humped kinds inhabit- 
ing tropical countries, called in India Zebus, to which the 
specific name of Bos indicus has been given ; and the common 
non-humped cattle, generally included under the name of 
Bos taurus. The humped cattle were domesticated, as may 
be seen on the Egyptian monuments, at least as early as the 
twelfth dynasty, that is 2100 B.C. They differ from common 
cattle in various osteological characters, even in a greater 

30 S. Sidney's edition of Youatt on 31 ' Sohweinesfhadel/ s 140. 

the Tig,' 1860, pp. 7, 26, 27, 29, 30. 

Chap. III. 



degree, according to Biitimeyer, 32 than do the fossil and 
prehistoric European species, namely, Bos 'primigenius and 
longifrons, from each other. They differ, also, as Mr. Blyth, 33 
who has particularly attended to this subject, remarks, in 
general configuration, in the shape of their ears, in the point 
where the dewlap commences, in the typical curvature of 
their horns, in their manner of carrying their heads when at 
rest, in their ordinary variations of colour, especially in the 
frequent presence of " nilgau-like markings on their feet," 
and " in the one being born with teeth protruding through 
the jaws, and the other not so." They have different habits, 
and their voice is entirely different. The humped cattle in 
India " seldom seek shade, and never go into the water and 
there stand knee-deep, like the cattle of Europe." They have 
run wild in parts of Oude and Kohilcund, 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 important osteological differences, in 
which they differ from each other ; and that many of these 
points are not likely to have been affected by domestication, 
there can hardly be a doubt, notwithstanding the adverse 
opinion of some naturalists, that the humped and non-humped 
cattle must be ranked as specifically distinct. 

The European breeds of humpless cattle are numerous. 
Professor Low enumerates 19 British breeds, only a few of 
which are identical with those on the Continent. Even the 
small Channel islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and Alderney 

32 ' Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 
18(31, s. 109, 149, 222. See also 
GeofFroy Saint-Hilaire, in ' Mem. du 
Mus. d'Hist. Nat.,' torn. x. p. 172 ; 
and his son Isidore, in ' Hist. Nat. 
Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 69. Vasey, in his 
1 Dplineations of the Ox Tribe,' 1851, 
p. 127, says the zebu has four, and 
common ox five, sacral vertebrae. 
Mr. Hodgson found the ribs either 

thirteen or fourteen in number ; see a 
note in 'Indian Field,' 1858, p. 62. 

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

84 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

possess their own sub-breeds ; 34 and these again differ from 
the cattle of the other British islands, such as Anglesea, and 
the western isles of Scotland. Desmarest, who paid attention 
to the subject, describes 15 French races, excluding sub- 
varieties and those imported from other countries. In other 
parts of Europe there are several distinct races, such as the 
pale-coloured Hungarian cattle, with their light and free 
step, and enormous horns sometimes measuring above five 
feet from tip to tip : 35 the Podolian cattle also are remarkable 
from the height of their fore-quarters. In the most recent 
work on Cattle, 36 engravings are given of fifty-five European 
breeds ; it is, however, probable that several of these differ 
very little from each other, or are merely synonyms. It must 
not be supposed that numerous breeds of cattle exist only in 
long-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 Rutimeyer's works and those of Boyd Dawkins. Two or three 
species or forms of Bos, closely allied to still living domestic races, 
have been found in the more recent tertiary deposits or amongst 
prehistoric remains in Europe. Following Riitimeyer, we have : — 

Bos primigenius. — This magnificent, well known species was 
domesticated in Switzerland during the Neolithic period ; even at 
this early period it varied a little, having apparently been crossed 
with other races. Some of the larger races on the Continent, as the 
Friesland, &c, and the 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 Chillingkam ; for 
I am informed by Professor Riitimeyer, to whom Lord Tankerville 
sent a skull, that the Chillingham cattle are less altered from the 
true primigenius type than any other known breed. 38 

34 Mr. H. E. Marquand, in 'The sanoe Gen. du Boeuf,' Paris, 1860. 
Pimes,' June 23rd, 1856. Fig. 82 is that of the Podolian breed. 

35 Vasey, ' Delineations of the Ox- 37 A translation appeared in three 
Tribe, p. 124. Brace's 'Hungary,' parts in the ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. 
1851, p. 94. The Hungarian cattle Hist.,' 2nd series, vol. iv., 1849. 
descend, according to Riitimeyer 38 See, also, Rutimeyer's ' Beitr'age 
('Zahmen Europ. Rindes,' 1866, s. 13 pal. Gesch. der Wiederkauer Basel, 
from Bos primig^'.iius. - 1865, s. 54. 

36 Moll and Gavot, ' La Connais- 

Chat. II J. 



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

Bos longifrons (or brachyceros) of Owen. — This very distinct species 
was of small size, and had a short body with fine legs. According 
to Boyd Dawkins 40 it was introduced as a domesticated animal into 
Britain at a very early period, and supplied food to the Eoman 
legionaries.' 11 Some remains have been found in Ireland in certain 
crannoges, of which the dates are believed to be from 843-933 a.d. 42 
It was also the commonest form in a domesticated condition in 
Switzerland during the earliest part of the Neolithic period. Pro- 
fessor Owen 43 thinks it probable that the Welsh and Highland cattle 
are descended from this form ; as likewise is the case, according to 
Riitimeyer, 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, 
and, according to the high authority of Mr. Boyd Dawkins, is identical 
with it, but in the opinion of some judges is distinct. Both co -existed 
in Scania during the same late geological period, 44 and both have 
been found in the Irish crannoges. 45 Nilsson believes that his 
B. frontosus may be the parent of the mountain cattle of Norway, 
which have a high protuberance on the skull between the base of 
the horns. As Professor Owen and others believe that the Scotch 
Highland cattle are descended from his B. longifrons, it is worth 
notice that a capable judge 46 has remarked that he saw no cattle 
in Norway like the Highland breed, but that they more nearly 
resembled the Devonshire breed. 

On the whole we may conclude, more especially from the 
researches of Boyd Dawkins, that European cattle are 

39 Pictet's ' Pale'ontologie,' torn i. p. 
365 (2nd edit.). With respect to B. 
trochoceros, see Riitimeyer's ' Zahmen 
Europ. Rindes,' 1866, s. 26. 

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

41 ' British Pleistocene Mammalia,' 
by W. B. Dawkins and W. A. Sandford, 
1866, p. xv. 

42 W. R. Wilde, 'An Essay on the 

Animal Remains, &c. Royal Irish 
Academy,' 1860, p. 29. Also ' Proc. 
of R. Irish Academy,' 1858, p. 48. 

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

44 Nilsson, in 'Annals and Mag. of 
Nat. Hist.,' 1849, vol. iv. p. 354. 

45 See W. R. Wilde, ut supra ; and 
Mr. Blythe, in ' Proc. Irish Academy,' 
March 5th, 1864. 

46 Laing's ' Tour in Norway,' p 

86 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

descended from two species ; and there is no improbability 
in this fact, for the genus Bos readily yields to domestication. 
Besides these two species and the zebu, the yak, the gayal, 
and the arni 47 (not to mention the buffalo or genus Bubalus) 
have been domesticated; making altogether six species of 
Bos. The zebu and the two European species are now extinct 
in a wild state. Although certain races of cattle were 
domesticated at a very ancient period in Europe, it does not 
follow that they were first domesticated here. Those who 
place much reliance on philology argue that they were imported 
from the East. 48 It is probable that they originally inhabited 
a temperate or cold climate, but not a land long covered with 
snow; for our cattle, as we have seen in the chapter on 
Horses, have not the instinct of scraping away the snow to 
get at the herbage beneath. No one could behold the magni- 
ficent wild bulls on the bleak Falkland Islands in the southern 
hemisphere, and doubt about the climate being admirably 
suited to them. Azara has remarked that in the temperate 
regions of La Plata the cows conceive when two years old, 
whilst in the much hotter country of Paraguay they do not 
conceive till three years old ; " from which fact," as he adds, 
" one may conclude that cattle do not succeed so well in warm 
countries." 49 

Bos primigenue and longifrons have been ranked by nearly 
all palaeontologists as distinct species ; and it would not be 
reasonable to take a different view simply because their 
domesticated descendants now intercross with the utmost 
freedom. All the European breeds have so often been crossed 
both intentionally and unintentionally, that, if any steri- 
lity had ensued from such unions, it would certainly have 
been detected. As zebus inhabit a distant and much hotter 
region, and as they differ in so many characters from our 
European cattle, I have taken pains to ascertain whether the 
two forms are fertile when crossed. The late Lord Powis 
imported some zebus and crossed them with common cattle 
in Shropshire ; and I was assured by his steward that the 

47 Isid. Geoffroy Saint-Hi 1 aire, 49 ' Quadrupedes du Paraguay,' torn. 
■ Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. 96. ii. p. 360. 

48 Idem, torn. iii. pp. 82, 91. 


cross-bred animals were perfectly fertile with both parent- 
stocks. Mr. Blyth informs me that in India hybrids, with 
various proportions of either blood, are quite fertile ; and this 
can hardly fail to be known, for in some districts 50 the two 
species are allowed to breed freely together. Most of the 
cattle which were first introduced into Tasmania were 
humped, so that at one time thousands of crossed animals 
existed there ; and Mr. B. O'Xeile 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 confirma- 
tion of the Pallasian doctrine that the descendants of species 
which when first domesticated would if crossed have been 
in all probability in some degree sterile, become perfectly 
fertile after a long course of domestication. In a future 
chapter we shall see that this doctrine throws some light on 
the difficult subject of Hybridism. 

I have alluded to the cattle in Chillingham Park, which, 
according to 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." According to Bewick, 
about the year 1770 some calves appeared with black ears; 
but these were also destroyed by the keeper, and black ears 
have not since reappeared. The wild white cattle in the 
Duke of Hamilton's park, where I have heard of the birth 
of a black calf, are said b) T Lord Tankerville to be inferior to 
those at Chillingham. The cattle kept until the year 1780 
by the Duke of Queensberry, but now extinct, had their ears, 
muzzle, and orbits of the eyes black. Those which have 

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




existed from time immemorial at Chartley, closely resemble 
the cattle at Chillingham, but are larger, " with some small 
difference in the colour of the ears." " They frequently tend 
to become entirely black ; and a singular superstition prevails 
in the vicinity that, when a black calf is born, some calamity 
impends over the noble house of Ferrers. All the black 
calves are destroyed." The cattle at Burton Constable in 
Yorkshire, now extinct, had ears, muzzle, and the tip of the 
tail black. Those at Gisburne, also in Yorkshire, are said by 
Bewick to have been sometimes without dark muzzles, with 
the inside alone of the ears brown ; and they are elsewhere 
said to have been low in stature and hornless. 51 

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

Boyd Dawkins believes that the park-cattle are descended 
from anciently domesticated, and not truly wild animals ; 
and from the occasional appearance of dark-coloured calves, 
it is improbable that the aboriginal Bos primigenius was white. 
It is curious what a strong, though not invariable, tendency 
there is in wild or escaped cattle to become white with 
coloured ears, under widely different conditions of life. If 
the old writers Boethius and Leslie 52 can be trusted, the 

51 I am much indebted to the 
present Earl of Tankerville tor infor- 
mation about his wild cattle ; and for 
the skull which was sent to Prof. 
Kutimeyer. The fullest account of 
the Chillingham cattle is given by 
Mr. Hindmarsh, together with a 
letter by the late Lord Tankerville, 
in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 
vol. ii., 1839, p. 274. See Bewick, 
'Quadrupeds,' 2nd edit., 1791, p. 35, 
note. With r°SDect to those of the 

Duke of Queensberry, see Pennant's 
'Tour in Scotland,' p. 109. For those 
of Chartley, see Low's ' Domesticated 
Animals of Britain,' 1845, p. 238. 
For those of Gisburne, see Bewick's 
1 Quadrupeds,' and ' Encyclop. of Rural 
Sports,' p. 101. 

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


wild cattle of Scotland were white and furnished with a great 
mane ; but the colour of their ears is not mentioned. In 
Wales, 53 during the tenth century, some of the cattle are 
described as being white with red ears. Four hundred cattle 
thus coloured were sent to King John ; and an early record 
speaks of a hundred cattle with red ears having been de- 
manded as a compensation for some oifence, but, if the cattle 
were of a dark or black colour, 150 were to be presented. 
The black cattle of North Wales apparently belong, as we 
have seen, to the small longifrons type : and as the alter- 
native was offered of either 150 dark cattle, or 100 white 
cattle with red ears, we may presume that the latter 
were the larger beasts, and probably belonged to the 
primigenius type. Youatt has remarked that at the present 
day, whenever cattle of the short-horn breed are white, the 
extremities of their ears are more or less tinged with red. 

The cattle which have run wild on the Pampas, in Texas, 
and in two parts of Africa, have become of a nearly uniform 
dark brownish-red. 54 On the Ladrone Islands, in the Pacific 
Ocean, immense herds of cattle, which were wild in the year 
1741, are described as " milk-white, except their ears, which 
are generally black." 55 The Falkland Islands, situated far 
south, with all the conditions of life as different as it is 
possible to conceive from those of the Ladrones, offer a more 
interesting case. Cattle have run wild there during eighty 
or ninety years ; and in the southern districts the animals 
are mostly white, with their feet, or whole heads, or only 
their ears black ; but my informant, Admiral Sulivan, 56 who 
long resided on these islands, does not believe that they are 
ever purely white. So that in these two archipelagos we see 
that the cattle tend to become white with coloured ears. In 
other parts of the Falkland Islands other colours prevail : 
near Port Pleasant brown is the common tint ; round Mount 

53 Youatt on Cattle, 1834, p. 48: guay,' torn. ii. p. 361. Azara 
See also p. 242, on short-horn cattle. quotes Buffon for the feral cattle of 
Bell, in his ' British Quadrupeds,' p. Africa. For Texas, see ' Times,' Feb. 
423, states that, after long attending 18, 1846. 

to the subject, he has found that " Anson's Voyage. See Kerr and 

white cattle invariably have coloured Porter's ' Collection,' vol. xii. p. 103. 

ears. 56 See also Mr. Mackinnon's pam- 

54 Azara, ' Quadrupedes du Para- phlet on the Falkland Islands, p. 24. 

90 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

Usborn, about half the animals in some of the herds were 
lead- or mouse-coloured, which elsewhere is an unusual tint. 
These latter cattle, though generally inhabiting high land, 
breed about a month earlier than the other cattle ; and this 
circumstance would aid in keeping them distinct and in per- 
petuating a peculiar colour. It is worth recalling to mind 
that blue or lead-coloured marks have occasionally appeared 
on the white cattle of Chillingham. So plainly different 
were the colours of the wild herds in different parts of the 
Falkland Islands, that in hunting them, as Admiral Sulivan 
informs me, white spots in one district, and dark sj)ots in 
another district, were always looked out for on the distant 
hills. In the intermediate districts, intermediate colours 
prevailed. Whatever the cause may be, this tendency in the 
wild cattle of the Falkland Islands, which are all descended 
from a few brought from La Plata, to break up into herds of 
three different colours, is an interesting fact. 

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

Some constitutional differences may be here noticed. The 
Short-horns arrive at maturity far earlier than the wilder 
breeds, such as those of Wales or the Highlands. This fact 
has been shown in an interesting manner by Mr. Simonds, 57 

57 'The Age of the Ox, Sheep, Pig,' &c, by Prof. James Simonds, published 
by order of the Royal Agricult. Soc. 

Chap. III. 



who lias given a table of the average period of their denti- 
tion, which proves that there is a difference of no less than 
six months in the appearance of the permanent incisors. The 
period of gestation, from observations made by Tessier on 
1131 cows, varies to the extent of eighty-one days; and what 
is more interesting, M. Lefonr affirms "that the period of 
gestation is longer in the large German cattle than in the 
smaller breeds." 58 With respect to the period of conception, 
it seems certain that Alderney and Zetland cows often become 
pregnant earlier than other breeds. 59 Lastly, as four fully 
developed mammae is a generic character in the genus Bos, 60 
it is worth notice that with our domestic cows the two rudi- 
mentary mammae often become fairly well developed 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 
at war with each other, and therefore have little free commu- 
nication, several distinct breeds of cattle now exist or for- 
merly existed. At the Cape of Good Hope Leguat observed, 
in the year 1720, three kinds. 61 At the present day various 
travellers have noticed the differences in the breeds in 
Southern Africa. Sir Andrew Smith several years a^o 
remarked to me that the cattle possessed by the different 
tribes of Caffres, though living near each other under the 
same latitude and in the same kind of country, yet differed, 
and he expressed much surprise at the fact. Mr. Andersson 
has described 62 the Damara, Bechuana, and Namaqua cattle ; 
and he informs me in a letter that the cattle north of Lake 
Ngami are likewise different, as Mr. Galton has heard is also 

58 'Ann. Agricult. France,' April, 
1837, as quoted in 'The Veterinary,' 
vol. xii. p. 725. I quote Tessier's obser- 
vations from Youatt on Cattle, p. 

59 ' The Veterinary,' vol. viii. p. 
681, and vol. x. p. 268. Low's 
' Domest. Animals, &c.,' p. 297. 

60 Mr. Ogleby, in ' Proc. Zoolog. 
Soc.,' 1836, p. 138, and 1840, p. 4. 
Ijuatrefages quotes Philippi (' Revue 

des Cours Scientifiques,' Feb. 12, 1688, 
p. 657), that the cattle of Piacentino 
have thirteen dorsal vertebrae and ribs 
in the place of the ordinary number 
of twelve. 

61 Leguat's Voyage, quoted by 
Vasey in his ' Delineations of the Ox- 
tribe,' p. 132. 

62 ' Travels in South Africa,' pp. 
317, 336. 

92 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

the case with the cattle of Benguela. The Namaqna cattle 
in size and shape nearly resemble European cattle, and have 
short stout horns and large hoofs. The Damara cattle are 
very peculiar, being big-boned, with slender legs, and small 
hard feet ; their tails are adorned with a tuft of long bushy 
hair nearly touching the ground, and their horns are extra- 
ordinarily large. The Bechuana cattle have even larger horns, 
and there is now a skull in London with the two horns 
8 ft. 8 J in. long, as measured in a straight line from tip to tip, 
and no less than 13 ft. 5 in. as measured along their curva- 
ture ! Mr. Andersson in his letter to me says that, though 
he will not venture to describe the differences between the 
breeds belonging to the many different sub-tribes, yet such 
certainly exist, as shown by the wonderful facility with 
which the natives discriminate them. 

That many breeds of cattle have originated through 
variation, independently of descent from distinct species, we 
may infer from what we see in South America, where the 
genus Bos was not endemic, and where the cattle which now 
exist in such vast numbers are the descendants of a few 
imported from Spain and Portugal; In Columbia, Eoulin 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 Para- 
guay, Azara describes a breed which certainly originated 
in S. America, called chivos, " because they have straight 
vertical horns, conical, and very large at the base." He 
likewise describes a dwarf race in Corrientes, with short 
legs and a body larger than usual. Cattle without horns, 
and others with reversed hair, have also originated in 

Another monstrous breed, called niatas or natas, of which I 
saw two small herds on the northern bank of the Plata, is so 
remarkable as to deserve a fuller description. This breed bears 
the same relation to other breeds, as bull or pug dogs do to 

63 'Mem. de l'Institut present, par June 15, 1846. See Azara, ' Quadru- 
divers Savans,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 333. pedes du Paraguay, torn. ii. pp. 359 
For Brazil, see * Comptes Rendus,' 361. 

Chap. III. 



other dogs, or as improved pigs, according to H. von Nathusius, 
do to common pigs. 64 Kiitimeyer believes that these cattle 
belong to the primigenius type. 65 The forehead is very short 
and broad, with the nasal end of the skull, together with 
the whole plane of the npper molar-teeth, curved upwards. 
The lower jaw projects beyond the upper, and has a corre- 
sponding upward curvature. It is an interesting fact that 
an almost similar confirmation characterizes, as I am informed 
by Dr. Falconer, the extinct and gigantic Sivatherium of 
India, and is not known in any other ruminant. The upper 
lip is much drawn back, the nostrils are seated high up and 
are widely open, the eyes project outwards, and the horns 
are large. In walking the head is carried low, and the neck 
is short. The hind legs appear to be longer, compared with 
the front legs, than is usual. The exposed incisor teeth, the 
short head and upturned nostrils, give these cattle the most 
ludicrous, self-confident air of defiance. The skull which I 
presented to the College of Surgeons has been thus described 
by Professor Owen : 66 " It is remarkable from the stunted 
development of the nasals, premaxillaries, and fore-part of 
the lower jaw, which is unusually curved upwards to come 
into contact with the premaxillaries. The nasal bones are 
about one-third the ordinary length, but retain almost their 
normal breadth. The triangular vacuity is left between 
them, the frontal and lachrymal, which latter bone articulates 
with the premaxillary, and thus excludes the maxillary from 
any junction with the nasal." So that even the con- 
nexion of some of the bones is changed. Other differences 
might be added : thus the plane of the condyles is somewhat 

64 « Schweineschadel,' 1864, s. 104. 
Nathusius states that the form of 
skull characteristic in the niata cattle 
occasionally appears in European 
cattle ; but he is mistaken, as we 
shall hereafter see, in supposing that 
these cattle do not form a distinct 
race. Prof. Wyman, of Cambridge, 
United States, informs me that the 
common cod-fish presents a similar 
monstrosity, called by the fishermen 
*' bull-dog cod." Prof. Wyman also 

concluded, after making numerous 
inquiries in La Plata, that the niata 
cattle transmit their peculiarities or 
form a race. 

65 Ueber Art des zahmen Europ. 
Pvindes, 1S66, s. 28. 

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

94 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

modified, and the terminal edge of the premaxillaries forms an 
arch. In fact, on comparison with the skull of a common ox, 
scarcely a single bone presents the same exact shape, and the 
whole skull has a wonderfully different appearance. 

The first brief published notice of this race was by Azara, 
between the years 1783-96 ; but Don F. Muniz, of Luxan, who 
has kindly collected information for me, states that about 1700 
these cattle were kept as curiosities near Buenos Ayres. 
Their origin is not positively known, but they must have ori- 
ginated subsequently to the year 1552, when cattle were first 
introduced. Sefior Muniz informs me that the breed is believed 
to have originated with the Indians southward of the Plata. 
Even to this day those reared near the Plata show their less 
civilized nature in being fiercer than common cattle, and in the 
cow, if visited too often, easily deserting her first calf. The 
breed is very true, and a niata bull and cow invariably produce 
niata calves. The breed has already lasted at least a century. 
A niata bull crossed with a common cow, and the reverse cross, 
yield offspring having an intermediate character, but with 
the niata character strongly displayed. According to Senor 
Muniz, there is the clearest evidence, contrary to the common 
belief of agriculturists in analogous cases, that the niata cow 
when crossed with a common bull transmits her peculiarities 
more strongly than does the niata bull when crossed with a 
common cow. When the pasture is tolerably long, these cattle 
feed as well as common cattle with their tongue and palate ; but 
during the great droughts, when so many animals perish on the 
Pampas, the niata breed lies under a great disadvantage, and 
would, if not attended to, become extinct ; for the common 
cattle, like horses, are able to keep alive by browsing with 
their lips on the twigs of trees and on reeds : this the niatas 
cannot so well do, as their lips do not join, and hence they are 
found to perish before the common cattle. This strikes me 
as a good illustration of how little we are able to judge from 
the ordinary habits of an animal, on what circumstances, 
occurring only at long intervals of time, its rarity or extinc- 
tion may depend. It shows us, also, how natural selection 
would have determined the rejection of the niata modification 
had it arisen in a state of nature. 


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

I have often speculated on the probable causes through 
which each separate district in Great Britain came to possess 
in former times its own peculiar breed of cattle ; and the ques- 
tion is, perhaps, even more perplexing in the case of Southern 
Africa. We now know that the differences may be in part 
attributed to descent from distinct species ; but this cause is 
far from sufficient. Have the slight differences in climate 
and in the nature of the pasture, in the different districts of 
Britain, directly induced corresponding differences in the 
cattle ? We have seen that the semi - wild cattle in the 
several British parks are not identical in colouring or size, 
and that some degree of selection has been requisite to keep 
them true. It is almost certain that abundant food given 
during many generations directly affects the size of a breed. 68 
That climate directly affects the thickness of the skin and 
the hair is likewise certain : thus Roulin asserts 69 that the 
hides of the feral cattle on the hot Llanos " are always much 
less heavy than those of the cattle raised on the high 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 

67 Loudon s Magazine of Nat. 68 Low, ' Domesticated Animals of 

Hist.,' vol. i., 1829, p. 113. Separate the British Isles,' p. 264. 

figures are given of the animal, its 69 ' Mem. de l'lnstitut present, par 

boofs, eye, and dewlap. divers Savans,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 332< 

96 CATTLE. Chap. III. 

in the hides of the cattle reared on the bleak Falkland Islands 
and on the temperate Pampas. Low has remarked 70 that the 
cattle which inhabit the more humid parts of Britain have 
longer hair and thicker skins than other British cattle. 
"When we compare highly improved stall-fed cattle with the 
wilder breeds, or compare mountain and lowland breeds, wo 
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 owing to what we may 
call in our ignorance spontaneous variation ; but even in this 
case a rude kind of selection is necessary, and the animals 
thus characterized must be at least partially separated from 
others. This degree of care, however, has sometimes been 
taken even in little-civilized districts, where we should least 
have expected it, as in the case of the niata, chivo, and horn- 
less cattle in S. America. 

That methodical selection has done wonders within a recent 
period in modifying our cattle, no one doubts. During the 
process of methodical selection it has occasionally happened that 
deviations of structure, more strongly pronounced than mere 
individual differences, yet by no means deserving to be called 
monstrosities, have been taken advantage of: thus the famous 
Long-horn Bull, Shakespeare, though of the pure Canley 
stock, " scarcely inherited a single point of the long-horned 
breed, his horns excepted ; n yet in the hands of Mr. Fowler, 
this bull greatly improved his race. We have also reason to 
believe that selection, carried on so far unconsciously that there 
was at no one time any distinct intention to improve or change 
the breed, has in the course of time modified most of our 
cattle ; for by this process, aided by more abundant food, all the 
lowland British breeds have increased greatly in size and in 
early maturity since the reign of Henry VII. 72 It should 
never be forgotten that many animals have to be annually 

70 Idem, pp. 304, 368, &c. 

72 Youatt on Cattle, p. 116. 


71 Youatt on Cattle, p. 193. A full 

EHencer has written on this 


account of this bull is taken from 




slaughtered ; so that each owner must determine which shall 
be killed and which preserved for breeding. In every district, 
as Youatt has remarked, there is a prejudice in favour of the 
native breed ; so that animals possessing qualities, whatever 
they may be, which are most valued in each district, will be 
oftenest preserved ; and this unmethodical selection assuredly 
will in the long run affect the character of the whole breed. 
But it may be asked, can this rude kind of selection have been 
practised by barbarians such as those of southern Africa ? In 
a future chapter on Selection we shall see that this has 
certainly occurred to some extent. Therefore, looking to the 
origin of the many breeds of cattle which formerly inhabited 
the several districts of Britain, I conclude that, although 
slight differences in the nature of the climate, food, &c, as 
well as changed habits of life, aided by correlation of growth, 
and the occasional appearance from unknown causes of con- 
siderable deviations of structure, have all probably played 
their parts ; yet that the occasional preservation in each 
district of those individual animals which were most valued 
by each owner has perhaps been even more effective in the 
production of the several British breeds. As soon as two or 
more breeds were formed in any district, or when new breeds 
descended from distinct species were introduced, their crossing, 
especially if aided by some selection, will have multiplied the 
number and modified the characters of the older breeds. 


I shall treat this subject briefly. Most authors look at our 
domestic sheep as descended from several distinct species. 
Mr. Blyth, who has carefully attended to the subject, believes 
that fourteen wild species now exist, but " that not one of 
them can be identified as the progenitor of any one of the 
interminable domestic races." M. Gervais thinks that 
there are six species of Ovis, 73 but that our domestic sheep 
form a distinct genus, now completely extinct. A German 

73 Blyth, on the gpnus Ovis, in Mr. Blyth's excellent articles in ' Land 

'Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' and Water,' 1867, pp. 134, 156. 

vol. vii., 1841, p. 261. With respect Gervais, 'Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes, 

lo the parentage of the breeds, see 1855, torn. ii. p. 191. 

98 SHEEP : Chap. III. 

naturalist 74 believes that our sheep descend from ten aborigi- 
nally 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 dis- 
tribution, infers that the sheep of Great Britain alone are the 
descendants of eleven endemic British forms ! Under such 
a hopeless state of doubt it would be useless for my purpose 
to give a detailed account of the several breeds ; but a few 
remarks may be added. 

Sheep have been domesticated from a very ancient period. 
Riitimeyer 76 found in the Swiss lake-dwellings the remains of 
a small breed, with thin tall legs, and horns like those of a 
goat, thus differing somewhat from any kind now known. 
Almost every country has its own peculiar breed ; and many 
countries have several breeds differing greatly from each other. 
One of the most strongly marked races is an Eastern one with 
a lcng tail, including, according to Pallas, twenty vertebrae, 
and so loaded with fat that it is sometimes placed on a truck, 
which is dragged about by the living animal. These sheep, 
though ranked by Fitzinger as a distinct aboriginal form, 
bear in their drooping ears the stamp of long domestication. 
This is likewise the case with those sheep which have two 
great masses of fat on the rump, with the tail in a rudimen- 
tary condition. The Angola variety of the long-tailed race 
has curious masses of fat on the back of the head and bene.ath 
the jaws. 77 Mr. Hodgson in an admirable paper 78 on the 
sheep of the Himalaya infers from the distribution of the 
several races, " that this caudal augmentation in most of its 
phases is an instance of degeneracy in these pre-eminently 
Alpine animals." The horns present an endless diversity in 
character; being not rarely absent, especially in the female 
sex, or, on the other hand, amounting to four or even eight 
in number. The horns, when numerous, arise from a crest 
on the frontal bone, which is elevated in a peculiar manner. 

74 Dr. L. Fitzinger, ' Ueber die vol. ii. p. 264. 

Racen des Zahmen Schafes,' 1860, s. 76 ' Piahlbauten,' s. 127, 193. 

86. " Youatt on Sheep, p. 120. 

75 J. Anderson, ' Recreations in 78 ' Journal of the Asiatic Soc. of 
Agriculture and Nativral History,' Bengal,' vol. xvi. pp. 1007, 1016. 


It is remarkable that multiplicity of horns "is generally 
accompanied by great length and coarseness of the fleece." 79 
This correlation, however, is far from being general ; for 
instance, I am informed by Mr. D. Forbes, that the Spanish 
sheep in Chile resemble, in fleece and in all other characters, 
their parent merino-race, except that instead of a pair they 
generally bear four horns. The existence of a pair of mammae 
is a generic character in the genus Ovis as well as in several 
allied forms ; nevertheless, as Mr. Hodgson has remarked, 
" this character is not absolutely constant even among the 
true and proper sheep : for I have more than once met with 
Cagias (a sub- Himalayan domestic race) possessed of four 
teats." s0 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 like- 
wise been considered as a generic distinction in sheep ; but 
Isidore Geoffroy 81 has shown that these pits or pouches are 
absent in some breeds. 

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

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

80 'Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal, 82 Youatt on Sheep, p. 138. 

r-'l. xvi., 1847, p. 1015. 83 'Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal,' 

81 'Hist. Nat. Gen., torn. iii. p. vol. xvi., 1847, pp. 1015, 1016. 


than in the female ; and Fitzinger 84 remarks that the mane 
in the African maned race is far more developed in the ram 
than in the ewe. 

Different races of sheep, like cattle, present constitutional 
differences. Thus the improved breeds arrive at maturity at 
an early age, as has been well shown by Mr. Simonds through 
their early average period of dentition. The several races 
have become adapted to different kinds of pasture and 
climate : for instance, no one can rear Leicester sheep on 
mountainous regions, where Cheviots flourish. As Youatt 
has remarked, " In all the different districts of Great Britain 
we find various breeds of sheep beautifully adapted to the 
locality which they occupy. No one knows their origin ; 
they are indigenous to the soil, climate, pasturage, and the 
locality on which they graze ; they seem to have been formed 
for it and by it." 85 Marshall relates 86 that a flock of heavy 
Lincolnshire and light Norfolk sheep which had been bred 
together in a large sheep-walk, part of which was low, rich, 
and moist, and another part high and dry, with benty grass, 
when turned out, regularly separated from each other ; the 
heavy sheep drawing off to the rich soil, and the lighter sheep 
to their own soil ; so that " whilst there was plenty of grass 
the two breeds kept themselves as distinct as rooks and 
pigeons." Numerous sheep from various parts of the world 
have been brought during a long course of years to the 
Zoological Gardens of London ; but as Youatt, who attended 
the animals as a veterinary surgeon, remarks, " few or none 
die of the rot, but they are phthisical ; not one of them from 
a torrid climate lasts out the second year, and when they die 
their lungs are tuberculated." 87 There is very good evidence 
that English breeds of sheep will not succeed in France. 88 
Even in certain parts of England it has been found im- 

84 ' Racen des Zahmen Schafes,' s. sheep with Leicesters, see Youatt, p. 
77. 325. 

85 * Rural Economy of Norfolk,' vol. 87 Youatt on Sheep, note, p. 491. 
!i. p. 13G. 88 M. Malingie-Nouel Journal U. 

8S Youatt on Sheep, p. 312. On Agricult. Soc, vol. xiv. 1853, p. 214. 

same subject, see excellent remarks in Translated and therefore approved by 

' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1858, p. 8^8. a great authority, Mr. Pusey. 
For experiments in crossing Cheviot 


possible to keep certain breeds of sheep ; thus on a farm on 
the banks of the Ouse, the Leicester sheep were so rapidly 
destroyed by pleuritis 89 that the owner could not keep them ; 
the coarser-skinned sheep never being affected. 

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

Merinos 1503 days. 

Southdowns 1442 „ 

Half-bred Merinos and Southdowns .. 1463 „ 

f blood of Southdown 1455 „ 

£ 144-2 

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

Sheep are perhaps more readily affected by the direct action 

89 'The Veterinary,' vol. x. p. 217. given in ' Bull. Soc. Imp. d'Acclimat.,' 
•° A translation of his paper is torn, ix., 1862, p. 723. 

102 SHEEP: Chap. III. 

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

G reat 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. Kicholson of Antigua informs me that, after the third 
generation, the wool disappears from the whole body, except 
over the loins ; and the animal then appears like a goat with 
a dirty door-mat on its back. A similar change is said to 
take place on the west coast of Africa. 92 On the other hand, 
many wool-bearing sheep live on the hot plains of India. 
Eoulin asserts that in the lower and heated valleys of the 
Cordillera, if the lambs are sheared as soon as the wool has 
grown to a certain thickness, all goes on afterwards as usual ; 
but if not sheared, the wool detaches itself in flakes, and 
short shining hair like that on a goat is produced ever 
afterwards. This curious result seems merely to be an ex- 
aggerated tendency natural to the Merino breed, for as a 

91 Erman's 'Travels in Siberia' the Sierra Leone Company, as quoted 

(Eng. trans.), vol. i. p. 228. For Pallas in White's ' Gradation of Man,' p. 95. 

on the fat-tailed sheep, I quote from With respect to the change which 

Anderson's account of the 'Sheep of sheep undergo in the West Indies, see 

Russia,' 1794, p. 34. With respect also Dr. Davy, in ' Edin. New. Phil, 

to the Crimean sheep, see Pallas' Journal,' Jan. 1852. For the state- 

' Travels' (Kng. trans.), vol. ii. p. 454. ment made by Roulin, see 'Mem. de 

For the Karakool sheep, see Burnes' l'lnstitut present, par divers Savans. 1 

'Travels in Bokhara,' vol. iii. p. 151. torn, vi., 1835, p. 347. 

91 See Report cf the Directors of 


great authority, namely, Lord Somerville, remarks, " the 
wool of our Merino sheep after shear-time is hard and coarse 
to such a degree as to render it almost impossible to suppose 
that the same animal could bear wool so opposite in quality, 
compared to that which has been clipped from it : as the 
cold weather advances, the fleeces recover their soft quality.'' 
As in sheep of all breeds the fleece naturally consists of 
longer and coarser hair covering shorter and softer wool, the 
change which it often undergoes in hot climates is probably 
merely a case of unequal development ; for even with those 
sheep which like goats are covered with hair, a small quantity 
of underlying wool may always be found. 93 In the wild 
mountain-sheep (Ovis montana) of North America there is an 
analogous annual change of coat ; " the wool begins to drop 
out in early spring, leaving in its place a coat of hair resem- 
bling that of the elk, a change of pelage quite different in 
character from the ordinary thickening of the coat or hair, 
common to all furred animals in winter, — for instance, in the 
horse, the cow, &c, which shed their winter coat in the 
spring." 94 

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

That methodical selection has effected great changes in 

93 Youatt on Sheep, p. 69, where tion counteracting any tendency to 

Lord Somerville is quoted. See p. 117, change, see pp. 70, 117, 120, 168. 
on the presence of wool under the 9i Audubon and Bachman, ' The 

hair. With respect to the fleeces of Quadrupeds of North America,' 1846, 

Australian sheep, p. 185. On selec- vol. v. p. 365. 

104 SHEEP. Chap. III. 

several breeds of sheep no one who knows anything on the 
subject, entertains a doubt. The case of the Southdowns, as 
improved by Ellman, offers perhaps the most striking in- 
stance. Unconscious or occasional selection has likewise 
slowly produced a great effect, as we shall see in the chapters 
on Selection. That crossing has largely modified some breeds, 
no one who will study what has been written on this subject 
— for instance, Mr. Spooner's paper — will dispute; but to 
produce uniformity in a crossed breed, careful selection and 
" rigorous weeding," as this author expresses it, are indis- 
pensable. 95 

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

A more interesting case has been recorded in the Report of 
the Juries for the Great Exhibition (1851), namely, the pro- 
duction of a merino ram-lamb on the Mauchamp farm, in 1828, 
which was remarkable for its long, smooth, straight, and silky 
wool. By the year 1833 M. Graux had raised rams enough to 
serve his whole flock, and after a few more years he was able 
to sell stock of his new breed. So peculiar and valuable is the 
wool, that it sells at 25 per cent, above the best merino wool : 

95 'Journal of R. Agricult. Soc. of 96 'Philosoph. Transactions,' London. 

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

Chap. III. GOATS. 105 

even the fleeces of half-bred animals are valuable, and are 
known in France as the " Mauchamp-merino." It is inter- 
esting, as showing how generally any marked deviation of 
structure is accompanied by other deviations, that the first 
ram and his immediate offspring were of small size, with 
large heads, long necks, narrow chests, and long flanks ; but 
these blemishes were removed by judicious crosses and selec- 
tion. The long smooth wool was also correlated with smooth 
horns ; and as horns and hair are homologous structures, 
we can understand the meaning of this correlation. If the 
Mauchamp and ancon breeds had originated a century or two 
ago, we should have had no record of their birth ; and many 
a naturalist would no doubt have insisted, especially in the 
case of the Mauchamp race, that they had each descended 
from, or been crossed with, some unknown aboriginal form. 


From the recent researches of M. Brandt, most naturalists now 
believe that all our goats are descended from the Capra cegagrus 
of the mountains of Asia, possibly mingled with the allied 
Indian species C. falconeri of India. 97 In Switzerland, during 
the neolithic period, the domestic goat was commoner than the 
sheep ; and this very ancient race differed in no respect from 
that now common in Switzerland. 98 At the present time, the 
many races found in several parts of the world differ greatly 
from each other ; nevertheless, as far as they have been tried, 99 
they are all quite fertile when crossed. So numerous are the 
breeds, that Mr. G. Clark 10 ° has described eight distinct kinds 
imported into the one island of Mauritius. The ears of one 
kind were enormously developed, being, as measured by 
Mr. Clark, no less than 19 inches in length and 4f inches in 
breadth. As with cattle, the mammae of those breeds which 
are regularly milked become greatly developed; and, as 

97 Isidore Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 98 Riitimeyer, ' Pfahlbauten,' s. 127. 

'Hist. Nat. Generale,' torn. iii. p. 87. " Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 

Mr. Blyth (' Land and Water,' 1867, 402. 

p. 37) has arrived at a similar con- 10 ° 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. 

elusion, but he thinks that certain History,' vol. ii. (2nd series), 1848, 

Eastern races may perhaps be in part p. 363. 
descended from the Asiatic raarkhor. 




Chap. III. 

Mr. Clark remarks, ' k it is not rare to see their teats touching 
the ground." The following cases are worth notice as pre- 
senting unusual points of variation. According to Godron, 101 
the mammae differ greatly in shape in different breeds, being 
elongated in the common goat, hemispherical in the Angora 
race, and bilobed and divergent in the goats of Syria and 
Nubia. According to this same author, the males of certain 
breeds have lost their usual offensive odour. In one of the 
Indian breeds the males and females have horns of widely- 
different shapes ; 102 and in some breeds the females are desti- 
tute of horns. 103 M. Ramu of Nancy informs rne that many 
of the goats there bear on the upper part of the throat a pair 
of hairy appendages, 70 mm. in length and about 10 mm. 
in diameter, which in external appearance resemble those 
above described on the jaws of pigs. The presence of inter- 
digital pits or glands on all four feet has been thought to 
characterise the genus Ovis, and their absence to be charac- 
teristic of the genus Capra ; but Mr. Hodgson has found that 
they exist in the front feet of the majority of Himalayan 
goats. 104 Mr. Hodgson measured the intestines in two goats of 
the Dugu race, and he found that the proportional length of tho 
great and small intestines differed considerably. In one of these 
goats the csecuni was thirteen inches, and in the other no less 
than thirty-six inches in length ! 

101 'De l'Espece,' torn. i. p. 406. 
Mr. Clark also refers to differences in 
the shape of the mammae. Gordon 
states that in the Nubian race the 
scrotum is divided into two lobes ; 
and Mr. Clark gives a ludicrous proof 
of this fact, for he saw in the Mauritius 
a male goat of the Muscat breed 
purchased at a high price for a female 
in full milk. These differences in the 
scrotum are probably not due to 

descent from distinct species : for 
Mr. Clark states that this part varies 
much in form. 

102 Mr. Clark, 'Annals and Mag. 
of Nat. Hist.,' vol. ii. (2nd series), 
18-18, p. 361. 

103 Desmarest, ' Encyclop. Method. 
Mammalogie,' p. 480. 

104 ' Journal of Asiatic Soc. of 
Bengal,' vol. xvi. 1847, pp. 1020, 









All naturalists, with, as far as I know, a single exception, 
believe that the several domestic breeds of the rabbit are de- 
scended from the common wild species ; I shall therefore 
describe them more carefully than in the previous cases. 
Professor Gervais * states " that the true wild rabbit is smaller 
than the domestic; its proportions are not absolutely the 
same ; its tail is smaller ; its ears are shorter and more 
thickly clothed with hair ; and these characters, without 
speaking of colour, are so many indications opposed to the 
opinion which unites these animals under the same specific 
denomination." Few naturalists will agree with this author 
that such slight differences are sufficient to separate as 
distinct species the wild and domestic rabbit. How extra- 
ordinary it would be, if close confinement, perfect tameness, 
unnatural food, and careful breeding, all prolonged during 
many generations, had not produced at least some effect ! 
The tame rabbit has been domesticated from an ancient period. 
Confucius ranges rabbits among animals worthy to be sacri- 
ficed 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 

1 M. P. Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes,' 1854. torn, i., p. 288. 


domestic rabbits: 

Chap. IV. 

1631 Gervaise Markkam writes, " You shall not, as in other 
cattell, looke to their shape, but to their richnesse, onely elect 
your buckes, the largest and goodliest conies you can get ; 
and for the richnesse of the skin, that is accounted the 
richest which hath the equallest mixture of blacke and white 
haire together, yet the blacke rather shadowing the white ; the 

furre should be thicke, deepe, smooth, and shining ; 

they are of body much fatter and larger, and, when anothei 
skin is worth two or three pence, they are worth two shillings." 
From this full description we see that silver - grey rabbits 
existed in England at this period ; and what is far more 
important, we see that the breeding or selection of rabbits was 
then carefully attended to. Aldrovandi, in 1637, describes, 
on the authority of several old writers (as Scaliger, in 1557), 
rabbits of various colours, some " like a hare," and he adds that 
P. Valerianus (who died a very old man in 1558) saw at 
Verona rabbits four times bigger than ours. 2 

From the fact of the rabbit having been domesticated at an 
ancient period, we must look to the northern hemisphere of the 
Old World, and to the warmer temperate regions alone, for 
the aboriginal parent-form ; for the rabbit cannot live without 
protection in countries as cold as Sweden, and, though it has 
run wild in the tropical island of Jamaica, it has never greatly 
multiplied there. It now exists, and has long existed, in the 
warmer temperate parts of Europe, for fossil remains have been 
found in several countries. 3 The domestic rabbit readily 
becomes feral in these same countries, and when variously 
coloured kinds are turned out they generally revert to the 
ordinary grey colour. 4 Wild rabbits, if taken young, can be 
domesticated, though the process is generally very trouble- 
some. 9 The various domestic races are often crossed, and are 

2 U. Aldrovandi, c De Quadrupedi- 
bus digitatis,' 1637, p. 383. For 
Confucius and G. Markham, see a 
writer who has studied the subject, 
in ' Cottage Gardener,' Jan. 22nd, 
1861, p. 250. 

3 Owen, ' British Fossil Mammals,' 
p. 212. 

4 Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutsch- 

lands,' 1801, b. i. p. 1133. I have 
received similar accounts with respect 
to England and Scotland. 

5 'Pigeons and Rabbits,' by E. S. 
Delamer, 1854, p. 133. Sir J. Se- 
bright ( ' Observations on Instinct,' 
1836, p. 10) speaks most strongly on 
the difficulty. But this difficulty is 
not invariable, as I have received two 


believed to be quite fertile together, and a perfect gradation 
can be shown to exist from the largest domestic kinds, having 
enormously developed ears, to the common wild kind. The 
parent-form must have been a burrowing animal, a habit not 
common, as far as I can discover, to any other species in the 
large genus Lepus. Only one wild species is known with 
certainty to exist in Europe ; but the rabbit (if it be a true 
rabbit) from Mount Sinai, and likewise that from Algeria, 
present slight differences ; and these forms have been con- 
sidered by some authors as specifically distinct. 6 But such 
slight differences would aid us little in explaining the more 
considerable differences characteristic of the several domestic 
races. If the latter are the descendants of two or more closely 
allied species, these, with the exception of the common rabbit, 
have been exterminated in a wild state ; and this is very im- 
probable, seeing with what pertinacity this animal holds its 
ground. From these several reasons we may infer with 
safety that all the domestic breeds are the descendants of the 
common wild species. But from what we hear of the mar- 
vellous success in France in rearing hybrids between the 
hare and rabbit, 7 it is possible, though not probable, from the 
great difficulty in making the first cross, that some of the 
larger races, which are coloured like the hare, may have been 
modified by crosses with this animal. Nevertheless, the chief 
differences in the skeletons of the several domestic breeds 
cannot, as we shall presently see, have been derived from a 
cross with the hare. 

There are many breeds which transmit their characters 
more or less truly. Every one has seen the enormous lop- 
eared rabbits exhibited at our shows ; various allied sub- 
breeds are reared on the Continent, such as the so-called 
Andalusian, which is said to have a large head with a round 
forehead, and to attain a greater size than any other kind ; 
another large Paris breed is named the Eouennais, and has a 

accounts of perfect success in taming feres,' torn. i. p. 292. 
and breeding from the wild rabbit. 7 See Dr. P. Broca's interesting 
See also Dr. P. Broca, in ' Journal de memoir on this subject in Brown- 
la Physiologie,' torn. ii. p. 368. Sequard's ' Journ. de. Phys.,' vol. ii. 
6 Gervais, ' Hist. Nat. des Mammi- p. 367. 


square head ; the so-called Patagonian rabbit lias 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 ex- 
hibited 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 developed, and hang 
down on each side of their faces. A rabbit was exhibited in 
1867 with its two ears, measured from the tip of one to the 
tip of the other, 22 inches in length, and each ear 5| inches 
in breadth. In 1869 one was exhibited with ears, measured 
in the same manner, 23| in length and 5£ in breadth ; " thus 
exceeding any rabbit ever exhibited at a prize show." In a 
common wild rabbit I found that the length of two ears, 
from tip to tip, was 7-f inches, and the breadth only If inch. 
The weight of body in the larger rabbits, and the development 
of their ears, are the qualities which win prizes, and have 
been carefully selected. 

The hare-coloured, or, as it is sometimes called, the Belgian 
rabbit, differs in nothing except colour from the other large 
breeds ; but Mr. J. Young, of Southampton, a great breeder of 
this kind, informs me that the females, in all the specimens 
examined by him, had only six mammae ; and this certainly 
was the case with two females which came into my pos- 
session. Mr. B. P. Brent, however, 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 

8 The skulls of these breeds are Horticulture,' May 7th, 1861, p. 108. 
oriefly described in the ' Journal of 


the male shows no wish to destroy its 3-oung. 9 Two live 
rabbits were brought to me from Moscow, of about the size of 
the wild species, but with long soft fur, different from that 
of the Angora. These Moscow rabbits had pink eyes and 
were snow-white, excepting the ears, two spots near the nose, 
the upper and under surface of the tail, and the hinder tarsi, 
which were blackish-brown. In short, they were coloured 
nearly like the so-called Himalayan rabbits, presently to be 
described, and differed from them only in the character of 
their fur. There are two other breeds which come true to 
colour, but differ in no other respect, namely silver-greys and 
chinchillas. Lastly, the Nicard or Dutch rabbit may be 
mentioned, which varies in colour, and is remarkable from 
its small size, some specimens weighing only 1-L lb. ; rabbits 
of this breed make excellent nurses for other and more 
delicate kinds. 10 

Certain characters are remarkably fluctuating, or are very 
feebly transmitted by domestic rabbits : thus, one breeder 
tells me that with the smaller kinds he has hardly ever 
raised a whole litter of the same colour : with the large lop- 
eared breeds " it is impossible," says a great judge, 11 " to breed 
true to colour, but by judicious crossing a great deal may be 
done towards it. The fancier should know how his does are 
bred, that is, the colour of their parents." Nevertheless, 
certain colours, as we shall presently see, are transmitted 
truly. The dewlap is not strictly inherited. Lop-eared 
rabbits, with their ears hanging down flat on each side of 
the face, do not transmit this character at all truly. Mr. 
Delamer remarks that, " with fancy rabbits, when both the 
parents are perfectly formed, have model ears, and are 
handsomely marked, their progeny do not invariably turn 
out the same." When one parent, or even both, are oar- 
laps, that is, have their ears sticking out at right angles, 
or when one parent or both are half-lops, that is, have only 

9 'Journal of Horticulture,' 1861, p. o27. With respect to the ears, see 
p. 380. Delamer on ' Pigeons and Rabbits,' 

10 'Journal of Horticulture,' May 1854, p. 141 ; also * Poultry Chroni- 
2«th, 1861, p. 169. cle,' vol. ii. p. 499, and ditto'for 1854, 

11 'Journal of Horticulture,' 1861, p. 586. 



Chap. IV. 

one ear dependent, there is nearly as good a chance of the 
progeny having both ears full-lop, as if both parents had 
been thus characterized. But I am informed, if both parents 
have upright ears, there is hardly a chance of a full-lop. In 
some half- lops the ear that hangs down is broader and longer 
than the upright ear ; 12 so that we have the unusual case of 
a want of symmetry on the two sides. This difference in the 
position and size of the two ears probably indicates that the 
lopping results from the great length and weight of the ear, 

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

favoured no doubt by the weakness of the muscles consequent 
on disuse. Anderson 13 mentions a breed having only a 
single ear ; and Professor Gervais another breed destitute of 

We come now to the Himalayan breed, which is sometimes 
called Chinese, Polish, or Eussian. These pretty rabbits are 
white, or occasionally yellow, excepting their ears, nose, 
feet, and the upper side of the tail, which are all brownish- 
black ; but as they have red eyes, they may be considered as 

12 Delamer, ' Pigeons and Rabbits, 
p. 136. See also ' Journal of Horti- 
culture,' 1861, p. 375. 

13 'An Account of the different 
Kinds of Sheep in the Russian Domi- 
nions,' 1794, p. 39. 


albinoes. I have received several accounts of their breeding 
perfectly true. From their symmetrical marks, they were 
at first ranked as specifically distinct, and were provisionally 
named L. nigripes. l4: Some good observers thought that they 
could detect a difference in their habits, and stuutly maintained 
that they formed a new species. The origin of this breed is 
so curious, both in itself and as throwing some light on the 
complex laws of inheritance that it is worth giving in detail. 
But it is first necessary briefly to describe two other breeds : 
silver-greys or silver-sprigs generally have black heads and 
legs, and their fine grey fur is interspersed with numerous 
black and white long hairs. They breed perfectly true, and 
have long been kept in warrens. When they escape and 
cross with common rabbits, the product, as I hear from Mr. 
Wyrley Birch, of Wretham Hall, is not a mixture of the two 
colours, but about half take after the one parent, and the 
other half after the other parent. Secondly, chinchillas or 
tame silver-greys (I will use the former name) have short, 
paler, mouse or slate-coloured fur, interspersed with long, 
blackish, slate-coloured, and white hairs. 15 These rabbits 
breed perfectly true. A writer stated in 1857 16 that he had 
produced Himalayan rabbits in the following manner. He 
had a breed of chinchillas which had been crossed with the 
common black rabbit, and their offspring were either blacks 
or chinchillas. These latter were again crossed with other 
chinchillas (Avhich h^d also been crossed with silver-greys), 
and from this complicated cross Himalayan rabbits were 
raised. From these and other similar statements, Mr. 
Bartlett 17 was led to make a careful trial in the Zoological 
Gardens, and he found that by simply crossing silver-greys 
with chinchillas he could always produce some few Hima- 
layans ; and the latter, notwithstanding their sudden origin, 
if kept separate, bred perfectly true. But I have recently 
been assured the pure silver-greys of any sub-breed occasion 
ally produce Himalayans. 

14 < Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' June 23rd., ,6 l Cottage Gardener,' 1857, p. 141 
1857, p. 159. 17 Mr. Bartlett, in ' Proc. Zoolog 

15 'Journal of Horticulture,' April Soc' 1861, p. 40. 
9th, 1861, p. 35. 


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

To sum up the whole curious case : wild silver-greys may 
be considered as black rabbits which become grey at an early 
period of life. When they are crossed with common rabbits, 
the offspring are said not to have blended colours, but to take 
after either parent ; and in this respect they resemble black 
and albino varieties of most quadrupeds, which often transmit 
their colours in this same manner. When they are crossed 
with chinchillas, that is, with a paler sub-variety, the young 
are at first pure albinoes, but soon become dark-coloured in 

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


certain parts of their bodies, and are then called Himalayans. 
The young Himalayans, however, are sometimes at first 
either pale grey or completely black, in either case changing 
after a time to white. In a future chapter I shall advance 
a large body of facts showing that, when two varieties are 
crossed both of which differ in colour from their parent-stock, 
there is a strong tendency in the young to revert to the 
aboriginal colour ; and what is very remarkable, this reversion 
occasionally supervenes, not before birth, but during the 
growth of the animal. Hence, if it could be shown that 
silver-greys and chinchillas were the offspring of a cross 
between a black and albino variety with the colours intimately 
blended — a supposition in itself not improbable, and supported 
by the circumstance of silver-greys in warrens sometimes pro- 
ducing 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 dif- 
ferent periods of growth and in different degrees, either to the 
original black or to the original albino parent-variety. 

It is, also, remarkable that Himalayans, though produced 
so suddenly, breed true. But as, whilst young, they are 
albinoes, the case falls under a very general rule ; albinism 
being well known to be strongly inherited, for instance with 
white mice and many other quadrupeds, and even white 
flowers. But why, it may be asked, do the ears, tail, nose, 
and feet, and no other part of the body, revert to a black 
colour ? This apparently depends on a law, which generally 
holds good, namely, that characters common to many species 
of a genus — and this, in fact, implies long inheritance from 
the ancient progenitor of the genus — are found to resist 
variation, or to reappear if lost, more persistently than the 
characters which are confined to the separate species. Now, 
in the genus Lepus, a large majority of the species have their 
ears and the upper surface of the tail tinted black ; but the 
persistence of these marks is best seen in those species which 
in winter become white : thus, in Scotland the L. variabilis 19 

19 G. R. Waterhoase, ' Natural History of Mammalia : Rodents,' 1846, pp. 52. 
60, 105. 


in its winter dress has a shade of colour on its nose, and the 
tips of its ears are black : in the L. tibetanus the ears are 
black, the upper surface of the tail greyish-black, and the 
soles of the feet brown : in L. glacialis the winter fur is pure 
white, except the soles of the feet and the points of the ears. 
Even in the variously- coloured fancy rabbits we may often 
observe a tendency in these same parts to be more darkly 
tinted than the rest of the body. Thus the several coloured 
marks on the Himalayan rabbits, as they grow old, are 
rendered intelligible. I may add a nearly analogous case : 
fancy rabbits very often have a white star on their foreheads ; 
and the common English hare, whilst young, generally has, 
as I have myself observed, a similar white star on its 

When variously coloured rabbits are set free in Europe, and 
are thus placed under their natural conditions, they generally 
revert to the aboriginal grey colour ; this may be in part due 
to the tendency in all crossed animals, as lately observed, to 
revert to their primordial state. But this tendency does not 
always prevail ; thus silver-grey rabbits are kept in warrens, 
and remain true though living almost in a state of nature ; 
but a warren must not be stocked with both silver-greys and 
common rabbits ; otherwise "in a few years there will be 
none but common greys surviving." 20 When rabbits run 
wild in foreign countries under new conditions of life, they 
by no means always revert to their aboriginal colour. In 
Jamaica the feral rabbits are described as having been " slate- 
coloured, deeply tinted with sprinklings of white on the neck, 
on the shoulders, and on the back ; softening off to blue- white 
under the breast and belly." 21 But in this tropical island 
the conditions were not favourable to their increase, and they 
never spread widely, and are now extinct, as I hear from Mr. 
R. Hill, owing to a great fire which occurred in the woods. 
Babbits during many years have run wild in the Falkland 

20 Delamer on 'Pigeons and Rabbits,' have become feral in a hot. country. 
P- 114. They can be kept, however, at Loanda 

21 Gosse's " ' Sojourn in Jamaica,' {see Livingstone's ' Travels,' p. 407). 
1851, p. 441, as described by an ex- In parts of India, as I am informed by 
cellent observer, Mr. R. Hill. This is Mr. Blyth, they breed well. 

the only known case in which rabbits 


Islands ; they are abundant in certain parts, but do not 
* spread extensively. Most of them are of the common grey 
colour ; a few, as I am informed by Admiral Sulivan, are 
hare-coloured, and many are black, often with nearly symme- 
trical white marks on their faces. Hence, M. Lesson described 
the black variety as a distinct species, under the name of 
Lepus magellanicus, but this, as I have elsewhere shown, is an 
error. 22 Within recent times the sealers have stocked some 
of the small outlying islets in the Falkland group with 
rabbits ; and on Pebble Islet, as I hear from Admiral Sulivan, 
a large proportion are hare-coloured, whereas on Rabbit Islet 
a large proportion are of a bluish colour, which is not else- 
where seen. How the rabbits were coloured which were 
turned out of these islets is not known. 

The rabbits which have become feral on the island of Porto 
Santo, near Madeira, deserve a fuller account. In 1418 or 
1419, J. Gonzales Zarco 23 happened to have a female rabbit 
on board which had produced young during the voyage, and 
he turned them all out on the island. These animals soon 
increased so rapidly, that they became a nuisance, and actu- 
ally caused the abandonment of the settlement. Thirty- 
seven years subsequently, Cada Mosto describes them as 
innumerable ; nor is this suprising, as the island was not 
inhabited by any beast of prey or by any terrestrial mammal. 
We do not know the character of the mother-rabbit ; but it 
was probably the common domesticated kind. The Spanish 
peninsula, whence Zarco sailed, is known to have abounded 
with the common wild species at the most remote historical 
period ; and as these rabbits were taken on board for food, it 
is improbable that they should have been of any peculiar 
breed. That the breed was well domesticated is shown by 
the doe having littered during the voyage. Mr. Wollaston, 
at my request, brought home two of these feral rabbits in 
spirits of wine ; and, subsequently, Mr. W. Haywood sent to 

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

23 Kerr's ' Collection of Voyages,' \uthors believe that the island was 
vol. ii. p. 177 : p. 205 for Ca^la Mosto. discovered in 1413. 

According to a work published in 


me three more specimens in "brine, and two alive. These 
seven specimens, though caught at different periods, closely" 
resembled each other. They were full grown, as shown by 
the state of their bones. Although the conditions of life in 
Porto Santo are evidently highly favourable to rabbits, as 
proved by their extraordinarily rapid increase, yet they differ 
conspicuously in their small size from the wild English 
rabbit. Four English rabbits, measured from the incisors to 
the anus, varied between 17 andl7| inches in length; whilst 
two of the Porto Santo rabbits were only 14^- 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 comparison of the well- 
cleaned limb-bones of a Porto Santo rabbit killed on the island 
with the same bones of a wild English rabbit of average size, 
and they differed in the proportion of rather less than five to 
nine. So that the Porto Santo rabbits have decreased nearly 
three inches in length, and almost half in weight of body. 24 
The head has not decreased in length proportionally with the 
body ; and the capacity of the brain case is, as we shall 
hereafter see, singularly variable. I prepared four skulls, 
and these resembled each other more closely than do generally 
the skulls of wild English rabbits ; but the only difference in 
structure which they presented was that the supra-orbital 
processes of the frontal bones were narrower. 

In colour the Porto Santo rabbit differs considerably from 
the common rabbit ; the upper surface is redder, and is rarely 
interspersed with any black or black-tipped hairs. The 
throat and certain parts of the under surface, instead of being 
pure white, are generally pale grey or leaden colour. But 
the most remarkable difference is in the ears and tail ; I have 
examined many fresh English rabbits, and the large collection 

24 Something of the same kind has countryman turned out some rabbits 

occurred on the island of Lipari, which multiplied prodigiously, but, 

where, according to Spallanzani says Spallanzani, " les lapins de l'ile 

(' Voyage dans les deux Siciles,' quoted de Lipari sont plus petits que ceux 

by Godron, ' De l'Espece,' p. 364), a qu'ou eleve en domesticite." 


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, 1 examined two of these rabbits 
recently sent to the Zoological Gardens, and their tails and 
ears were coloured as just described ; but when one of their 
dead bodies was sent to me in February, 1865, the ears were 
plainly edged, and the upper surface of the tail was covered 
with blackish-grey fur, and the whole body was much less 
red ; so that under the English climate this individual rabbit 
had recovered the proper colour of its fur in rather less than 
four years ! 

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


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

Osteological Characters. 

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

As a standard of comparison, I prepared skeletons of two vrild 
rabbits from Kent, one from the Shetland Islands, and one from 


Antrim in Ireland. As all the bones in these four specimens from 
such distant localities closely resembled each other, presenting 
scarcely any appreciable difference, it may be concluded that the 
bones of the wild rabbit are generally uniform in character. 

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

Although the skulls of the large lop-eared rabbits in comparison 
with those of the wild rabbit are much elongated relatively to their 
breadth, yet, relatively to the size of body, they are far from 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 
standard of the length of body, from the nose to the anus, the skull 
is not on an average as long as it ought to be by a third of an inch. 
In the small feral Porto Santo rabbit, on the other hand, the head 
relatively to the length of body is about a quarter of an inch too 

This elongation of the skull relatively to its breadth, I find a 
universal character, not only with the large lop-eared rabbits, but 
in all the artificial breeds ; as is well seen in the skull of the Angora. 
I was at first much surprised at the fact, and could not imagine why 
domestication could produce this uniform result ; but the explana- 
tion seems to lie in the circumstance that during a number of gene- 
rations 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 more upwards. In the 
zygomatic arch the posterior or projecting point of the malar-bone 



Chap. IV. 

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 

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

Fig. 7. -Skull of large Lop-eared Rabbit, of natural 


meatus. The inter-parietal bone (see fig. 9) diners much in shape 
in the several skulls; generally it is more oval, that is more ex- 
tended in the line of the longitudinal axis of the skull, than in the 
wild rabbit. The posterior margin of "the square raised plat- 

Chap. IV. 



form" 25 of the occiput, instead of being truncated, or projecting slightly 
as in the wild rabbit, is in most 
lop-eared rabbits pointed, as in 
fig. 9, C. The paramastoids rela- 
tively to the size of the skull are 
generally much thicker than in 
the wild rabbit. 

The occipital foramen (fig. 10) 
presents some remarkable differ- 
ences: in the wild rabbit, the 
lower edge between the condyles 
is considerably and almost angu- 
larly 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 ex- 
ceeds the longitudinal; for in 
none of these skulls was the 
lower edge between the condyles 
so deeply hollowed out ; in five 
of them there was no upper 

square notch, in three there was a trace of the notch, and in two 
alone it was well developed. 
These differences in the 
shape of the foramen are 
remarkable, considering 
that it gives passage to so 
important a structure as 
the spinal marrow, though 
apparently the outline of 
the latter is not affected 
by the shape of the passage. 

In all the skulls of the 
large lop-eared rabbits, the 
bony auditory meatus is conspicuously larger than in the wild 
rabbit. In a skull 4*3 inches 
in length, and which barely 
exceeded in breadth the 
skull of a wild rabbit 
(which was 3*15 inches in 
length), the longer diameter 
of the meatus was exactly 
twice as great. The orifice 
is more compressed, and 
its margin on the side nearest the skull stands up higher than 

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


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


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

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



Chap. IV. 

the outer side. The whole meatus is directed more forwards. 
As in breeding lop-eared rabbits the length of the ears, and 
their consequent lopping and lying flat on the face, are the 
chief points of excellence, there can hardly be a doubt that the 

great change in the size, 
form, and direction of the 
bony meatus, relatively to 
this same part in the wild 
rabbit, is due to the con- 
tinued selection of indi- 
viduals having larger and 
larger ears. The influence 
of the external ear on the 
bony meatus is well shown 
in the skulls (I have ex- 
amined three) of half-lops 
(see fig. 5), in which one ear 
stands upright, and the other 
and longer ear hangs down; 
for in these skulls there was 
a plain difference in the 
form and direction of the 
bony meatus on the two 
sides. But it is a much 
more interesting fact, that 
the changed direction and 
increased size of the bony 
meatus have slightly affected 
on the same side the struc- 
ture of the whole skull. I 
here give a drawing (fig. 11) 
of the skull of a half-lop ; and 
it may be observed that the 
suture between the parietal 
and frontal bones does not 
run strictly at right angles 
to the longitudinal axis of 
the skull; the left frontal 
bone projects beyond the 
right one ; both the posterior 

Fig. 11.— Skull, of natural size, of Half-lop Rabbit, j ontprinr rmrcnnR of thp 

showing the different direction of the auditory f " a anterior margins OI llie 

meatus on th^ two sides, and the consequent left Zygomatic arch On the 

general; distortion of the skull The left ear of g^e f the lopping ear stand 
the animal (or right side of figure) lopped ■..,,, . i r .i 

forwards. a little m advance of the 

corresponding bones on the 
opposite side. Even the lower jaw is affected, and the condyles are 
not quite symmetrical, that on the left standing a little in advance 
of that on the right. This seems to me a remarkable case of 
correlation of growth. Who would have surmised that by keeping 


an animal during many generations under confinement, and so 
leading to the disuse of the muscles of the ears, and by continually 
selecting individuals with the longest and largest ears, he would 
thus indirectly have affected almost every suture in the skull and 
the form of the lower jaw ! 

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

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

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 rabbit, the breadth measured within the posterior supra- 
orbital fissures is nearly a third less than in the wild. The skulls 
of the silver-grey, and chinchilla and Himalayan rabbits are more 
elongated than in the wild, with broader supra-orbital plates, but 
differ little in any other respect, excepting that the upper and lower 
notches of the occipital foramen are not so deep or so well developed. 
The skull of the Moscow rabbit scarcely differs at all from that of the 
wild rabbit. In the Porto Santo feral rabbits the supra-orbital plates 
are generally narrower and more pointed than in our wild rabbits. 

As some of the largest lop-eared rabbits of which I prepared 
skeletons were coloured almost like hares, and as these latter animals 
and rabbits have, as it is affirmed, been recently crossed in France, 
it might be thought that some of the above-described characters 
had been derived from a cross at a remote period with the hare. 



Chap. IY, 

Consequently I examined skulls of the hare, but no light could thus 
be thrown on the peculiarities of the skulls of the larger rabbits. 
It is, however, an interesting fact, as illustrating the law that 
varieties of one species often assume the characters of other species 
of the same genus, that I found, on comparing the skulls of ten 
species of hares in the British Museum, that they differed from each 
other chiefly in the very same points in which domestic rabbits 
vary, — namely, in general proportions, in the form and size of the 
subra-orbital plates, in the form of the free end of the malar bone, 
and in the line of suture separating the occipital and frontal bones. 
Moreover two eminently variable characters in the domestic rabbit, 
namely, the outline of the occipital foramen and the shape of the 
" raised platform " of the occiput, were likewise variable in two 
instances in the same species of hare. 

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

In the first cervical vertebra, or atlas, the anterior margin of the 
neural arch varies a little in wild specimens, being either nearly 
smooth, or furnished with a small supra-median atlantoid process; 

I have figured a specimen with the 
largest process (a) which I have seen ; 
but it will be observed how inferior 
this is in size and different in shape 
to that in a large lop-eared rabbit. 
In the latter, the infra-median pro- 
cess (b) is also proportionally much 
thicker and longer. The alse are a 
little squarer in outline. 

Third cervical vertebra. — In the 
wild rabbit (fig. 13, A a) this ver- 
tebra, 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 
Fig. 12.— Atlas Vertebra, of natural size; ] a rge lop-eared rabbits this process 

inferior surface viewed obliquHv. /• \ • r i „ i • , i ■ i • i ;L.t-~i^,« 

Upper figure, Wild Eabbit. i.ower O « ) m forked m the third vertebra, 

figure, Hare-coloured, large, Lop-cared as in the fourth of the wild rabbit. 

£££, 6°i„SS e anpr'oc?sL antoi<1 »»* »e third cervical vertebra, of 

the wild and lop-eared (a b, b b) 
rabbits differ more conspicuously when their anterior articular 






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

surfaces are compared ; for the extremities of the antero-dorsal pro- 
cesses 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 atten- 

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 

Ninth and tenth dorsal vertebras. — 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 vertebrae. In the large lop- 
eared rabbits the neural spines of the tenth, ninth, and eigh th vertebrae, 
and even in a slight degree that of the seventh, are very much 
thicker, and of somewhat different shape, in comparison with those 
of the wild rabbit. So that this part of the vertebral column differs 
considerably in appearance from the same part in the wild rabbit, 
and closely resembles in an interesting manner these same vertebrae 
in some species of hares. In the Angora, Chinchilla, and Hima- 
layan rabbits, the neural spines of the eighth and ninth vertebrae 
are in a slight degree thicker than in the wild. On the other hand, 
in one of the feral Porto Santo rabbits, which in most of its cha- 
racters deviates from the common wild rabbit, in a direction 
exactly opposite to that assumed by the large lop-eared rabbits, the 
neural spines of the ninth and tenth vertebras were not at all larger 
than those of the several anterior vertebrae. In tins same Porto 
Santo specimen there was no trace in the ninth vertebra of the 
anterior lateral processes (see woodcut 14), which are plainly deve- 
loped 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 

26 These rabbits have run wild for 
a considerable time in Sandon Park. 

and in other places in Staffordshire 
and Shropshire. They originated, as 


DOMESTIC rabbits: 

Chap, IV. 

side of the twelfth dorsal vertebra, and I have seen this in no other 


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

Lumbar Vertebrae. — I have stated that in two cases there were 

eight instead of seven lumbar vertebrae. The 
third lumbar vertebrae in one skeleton of a 
wild British rabbit, and in one of the Porto 
Santo feral rabbits, had a hsemal spine ; 
whilst in four skeletons of large lop-eared 
rabbits, and in the Himalayan rabbit,, this 
same vertebra had a well developed haemal 

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 

Fig. is.— Terminal bone of large lop-eared rabbits, the whole upper part 
sternum, of natural size, 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 prominent. 

Sternum. — The posterior end of the pos- 
terior 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 

A. Wild Rabbit. B. Hare- 
coloured, Lop-eared Kabbit. 
C. Hare-coloured Spanish 
Rabbit. (N.B. The left- 
hand angle of the upper 
articular extremity of B 
was broken, and has been 
accidentally thus repre- 

I have been informed by the game- 
keeper, from variously-coloured do- 
mestic 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. 



the extremity; whilst in other specimens (o) it keeps nearly of 
the same breadth from end to end, but is much thicker at the 

Scapula. — The acromion sends out a rectangular bar, ending in an 
oblique knob, which latter in the wild rabbit (rig. 16, a) varies a little 
in shape and size, as does 
the apex of the acromion in A 

sharpness, and the part just 
below the rectangular bar in 
breadth. But the variations 
in these respects in the wild 
rabbit are very slight : whilst 
in the large lop-eared rabbits 
they are considerable. Thus 
in some specimens (b) the 
oblique terminal knob is de- 
veloped into a short bar, 
forming an obtuse angle with 
the rectangular bar. In 
another specimen (c) these 
two unequal bars form nearly 
a straight line. The apex of 
the acromion varies much in 
breadth and sharpness, as 
may be seen by comparing 
figs, b, c, and d. 

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

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

The effects of the use and disuse of parts. — In the large lop-eared 
rabbits the relative proportional length of the bones of the same leg, 
and of the front and hind legs compared with each other, have 


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


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

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

27 See Prof. Owen's remarks on this 1862: with respect to Birds, see 

subject in his paper on the 'Zoological ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' Jan. 11th, 1848, 

Significance of the Brain, &c, of Man, p. 8. 
&c.,' road before Brit. Association, 


In the upper half of the following table I have given the measure- 
ments of the skull often 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 record the exact length which the compass gave. 
The second and third columns give the length and weight of body, 
whenever these observations were made. The fourth column 
gives the capacity of the skull by the weight of small shot with 
which the skulls were filled ; but it is not pretended that these 
weights are accurate within a few grains. In the fifth column the 
capacity is given which the skull ought to have had by calculation, 
according to the length of skull, in comparison with that of the wild 
rabbit No. 1 ; in the sixth column the difference between the actual 
and calculated capacities, and in the seventh the percentage of 
increase or decrease, are given. For instance, as the wild rabbit 
No. 5 has a shorter and lighter body than the wild rabbit No. 1, we 
might have expected that its skull would have had less capacity ; 
the actual capacity, as expressed by the weight of shot, is 875 grains, 
which is 97 grains less than that of the first rabbit. But comparing 
these two rabbits by the length of their skulls, we see that in No. 1 
the skull is 315 inches in length, and in No. 5 2'96 inches in length ; 
according to this ratio, the brain of No. 5 ought to have had a 
capacity of 913 grains of shot, which is above the actual capacity, 
but only by 38 grains. Or, to put the case in another way (as in 
column vn), the brain of this small rabbit, No. 5, for every 100 grains 
of weight is only 4 grains too light, — that is, it ought, according 
to the standard rabbit No. 1, to have been 4 per cent, heavier. I 
have taken the rabbit No. 1 as the standard of comparison because, 
of the skulls having a full average length, this has the least capacity ; 
so that it is the least favourable to the result which I wish to show, 
namely, that the brain in all long-domesticated rabbits has decreased 
in size, either actually, or relatively to the length of the head and 
body, in comparison with the brain of the wild rabbit. Had I taken 
the Irish rabbit, No. 3, as the standard, the following results would 
have been somewhat more striking. 

Turning to 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 lessened 
capacities. The three Porto Santo feral rabbits (Nos. 8 to 10) offer 
a perplexing case ; their bodies are greatly reduced in size, as in a 
lesser degree are their skulls in length and in actual capacity, in 
comparison with the skulls of wild English rabbits. But when we 
compare the capacities of the skull in the three Porto Santo rabbits, 
we observe a surprising difference, which does not stand in any 
relation to the slight difference in the length of their skulls, nor, 
as I believe, to any difference in the size of their bodies ; but I 
neglected weighing separately their bodies. I can hardly suppose 
that the medullary matter of the brain in these three rabbits, living 
under similar conditions, can differ as much as is indicated by the 
proportional difference of capacity in their skulls ; nor do I know 
whether it is possible that one brain may contain considerably more 
fluid than another. Hence I can throw no light on this case. 

Looking to the lower half of 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 "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 113(3 
grains in capacity ; so that these skulls have increased in length 
more than five times as much as the skulls of the six small wild 
rab*bits have decreased in length ; hence we might have expected 
that the skulls of the large lop-eared rabbits would have increased 
in capacity five times as much as the skulls of the six small rabbits 
have decreased in capacity; and this would have given an average 
increased capacity of 455 grains, whilst the real average increase is 
only 155 grains. Again, the large lop-eared rabbits have bodies of 
nearly the same weight and size as the common hare, but their 
heads are longer ; consequently, if the lop-eared rabbits had been 
wild, it might have been expected that their skulls would have had 
nearly the same capacity as that of the skull of the hare. But this 
is far from being the case ; for the average capacity of the two hare- 
skulls (Nos. 23, 21) 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. 23 

23 This standard is apparently con- Zoolog. Soc.,' 1861, p. 86) gives 210 
eidorably too low, for Dr. Crisp (/ Proc. grains as the actual weight of the 

Chap. IV. 



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I have previously remarked that, if we had possessed many 
domestic rabbits of the same average size with the wild rabbit, it 
would have been easy to compare the capacity of their skulls. Now 
the Himalayan, Moscow, and Angora rabbits (Nos. 11, 12, 13 of 
Table) are only a little larger in body and have skulls only a little 
longer, than the wild animal, and we see that the actual capacity of 
their skulls is less than in the wild animal, and considerably less by 
calculation (column 7), according to the difference in the length of 
thoir skulls. The narrowness of the brain-case in these three rabbits 
could be plainly seen and proved by external measurement. The 
Chinchilla rabbit (No. 14) is a considerably larger animal than the 
wild rabbit, yet the capacity of its skull only slightly exceeds that of 
the wild rabbit. The Angora rabbit, No. 13, offers the most remark- 
able case ; this animal iu 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 circum- 
stance 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 remark- 
able amount of reduction. 

From the several facts above given, — namely, firstly, that 
the actual capacity of the skull in the Himalayan, Moscow, 
and Angora breeds, is less than in the wild rabbit, though 
they are in all their dimensions rather larger animals ; 
secondly, that the capacity of the skull of the large lop-eared 
rabbits has not been increased in nearly the same ratio as the 
capacity of the skull of the smaller wild rabbits lias been 

brain of a hare which weighed 7 lbs., in ?hot is in my t;ible 972 grains; 

and 125 grains as the weight of the and according to Dr. Crisp's ratio of 

brain of a rabbit which weighed 3 lbs. 125 to 210, the skull of the hare 

5 oz., that is, the same weight as the ought to have contained 1632 grains 

rabbit No. 1 in my list. Now the of shot, instead of only (in the largest 

contents of the skull of rabbit No. 1 hare in my table) 1155 grains. 


decreased ; and thirdly, that the capacity of the skull in these 
same large lop-eared rabbits is very inferior to that of the 
hare, an animal of nearly the same size, — I conclude, not- 
withstanding the remarkable differences in capacity in the 
skulls of the small Porto Santo rabbits, and likewise in the 
large lop-eared kinds, that in all long-domesticated rabbits the 
brain has either by no means increased in due proportion 
with the increased length of the head and increased size of the 
body, or that it has actually decreased in size, relatively to what 
would have occurred had these animals lived in a state of 
nature. When we remember that rabbits, from having been 
domesticated and closely confined during many generations, 
cannot have exerted their intellect, instincts, senses, and 
voluntary movements, either in escaping from various 
dangers or in searchiug for food, we may conclude that their 
brains will have been feebly exercised, and consequently 
have suffered in development. We thus see that the most 
important and complicated organ in the whole organisation ■ 
is subject to the law of decrease in size from disuse. 

Finally, let us sum up the more important modifications 
which domestic rabbits have undergone, together with their 
causes as far as we can obscurely see them. By the supply of 
abundant and nutritious food, together with little exercise, and 
by the continued selection of the heaviest individuals, the 
weight of the larger breeds has been more than doubled. 
The bones of the limbs taken together have increased in 
weight, in due proportion with the increased weight of- body, 
but the hind legs have increased less than the front legs ; 
but in length they have not increased in due proportion, and 
this may have been caused by the want of proper exercise. 
With the increased size of the body the third cervical has as- 
sumed characters proper to the fourth cervical vertebra ; and the 
eighth and ninth dorsal vertebrae have similarly assumed cha- 
racters proper to the tenth and posterior vertebrae. The skull 
in the larger breeds has increased in length, but not in due pro- 
portion with the increased length of body ; the brain has not 
duly increased in dimensions, or has even actually decreased, 
and consequently the bony case for the brain has remained 
narrow, and by correlation has affected the bones of the face 


and the entire length of the skull. The skull has thus 
acquired its characteristic narrowness. From unknown causes 
the supra-orbital process of the frontal bones and the free 
end of the malar bones have increased in breadth ; and in 
the larger breeds the occipital foramen is generally much 
less deeply notched than in wild rabbits. Certain parts of 
the scapula and the terminal sternal bones have become 
highly variable in shape. The ears have been increased 
enormously in length and breadth through continued selec- 
tion ; 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 





I have been led to study domestic pigeons with particular 
care, because the evidence that all the domestic races are 
descended from one known source is far clearer than with any- 
other anciently domesticated animal. Secondly, because many 
treatises in several languages, some of them old, have been 
written on the pigeon, so that we are enabled to trace the 
history of several breeds. And lastly, because, from causes 
which we can partly understand, the amount of variation 
has been extraordinarily great. The details will often be 
tediously minute ; but no one who really wants to understand 
the progress of change in domestic animals, and especially 
no one who has kept pigeons and has marked the great 
difference between the breeds and the trueness with which 
most of them propagate their kind, will doubt that this 
minuteness is worth while. Not withstanding the clear evi- 
dence 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 pre- 
pared skeletons of all. I have received skins from Persia, 
and a large number from India and other quarters of the 



Chap. V. 

world. 1 Since nry a-linissiori into two of the London pigeon- 
clubs, I have received the kindest assistance from many of the 
most eminent amateurs. 2 

The races of the Pigeon which can be distinguished, and 
which breed true, are very numerous. MM. Boitard and 
Corbie 3 describe in detail 122 kinds; arid I could add several 
European kinds not known to them. In India, judging from 
the skins sent me, there are many breeds unknown here ; and 
Sir W. Elliot informs me that a collection imported by an 
Indian merchant into Madras from Cairo and Constantinople 
included several kinds unknown in India. I have no doubt 
that there exist considerably above 150 kinds which breed 
true and have been separately named. But of these the far 
greater number differ from each other only in unimportant 
characters. Such differences will be here entirely passed 
over, and I shall confine myself to the more important points 
of structure. That many important differences exist we 
shall presently see. I have looked through the magnificent 

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

2 Mr. B. P. Brent, well known for 
his various contributions to poultry 
literature, has aided me in every way 
during several years: so has Mr. 
Tegetmeier, with unwearied kindness. 
This latter gentleman, who is well 
known for his works on poultry, an 1 
who has largely bred pigeons, has 
looked over this and the following 
chapters. Mr. Bult formerly showed 
me his unrivalled co/.'ection of Pouters, 

and gave me specimens. I had access 
to Mr. Wicking's collection, which 
contained a greater assortment of 
kinds than could anywhere else be 
seen ; and he has always aided me 
with specimens and information given 
in the freest manner. Mr. Haynes 
and Mr. Corker have given me speci- 
mens of their magnificent Carriers. 
To Mr. Harrison Weir I am likewise 
indebted. Nor must I by any means 
pass over the assistance received from 
Mr. J. M. Eaton, Mr. Baker, Mr. Evans, 
and Mr. J. Baily, jun., of Mount- 
street — to the latter gentleman I 
have been indebted for some valuable 
specimens. To all these gentlemen 
I beg permission to return my sincere 
and cordial thanks. 

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


collection of the Columbidee in the British Museum, and, 
with the exception of a few forms (such as the Didunculus, 
Calsenas, Guura, &c), I do not hesitate to affirm that some 
domestic races of the rock-pigeon differ fully as much from 
each other in external characters as do the most distinct 
natural genera. AVe may look in vain through the 288 
known species 4 for a beak so small and conical as that of the 
short-faced tumbler ; for one so broad and short as that of 
the barb ; for one so long, straight, and narrow, with its 
enormous wattles, as that of the English carrier ; for an ex- 
panded upraised tail like that of the fantail ; or for an oeso- 
phagus like that of the pouter. I do not for a moment pretend 
that the domestic races diifer from each other in their whole 
organisation as much as the more distinct natural genera. ] 
refer only to external characters, on which, however, it must 
be confessed that most genera of birds have been founded. 
When, in a future chapter, we discuss the principle of selection 
as followed by man, we shall clearly see why the differences 
between the domestic races are almost always confined to 
external,* or at least to externally visible, characters. 

Owing to the amount and gradations of difference between 
the several breeds, I have found it indispensable in the follow- 
ing classification to rank them under Groups, Eaces, and Sub- 
races ; to which varieties and sub - varieties, all strictly 
inheriting their proper characters, must often be added. 
Even with the individuals of the same sub-variety, when 
long kept by different fanciers, different strains can sometimes 
be recognised. There can be no doubt that, if well-charac- 
terized forms of the several races had been found wild, all 
would have been ranked as distinct species, and several of 
them would certainly have been placed by ornithologists in 
distinct genera. A good classification of the various domestic 
breeds is extremely difficult, owing to the manner in which 
many of the forms graduate into each other ; but it is curious 
how exactly the same difficulties are encountered, and the 
same rules have to be followed, as in the classification of any 
natural but difficult group of organic beings. An " artificial 

4 'Coup d'Oeil sur POrdre des Paris, 1855. This author makes 288 
Pigeons,' par Prince ~. L. Bonaparte, species, ranked under 85 genera. 


classification " might be followed which would present fewer 
difficulties than a " natural classification ;" but then it would 
interrupt many plain affinities. Extreme forms can readily 
be defined ; but intermediate and troublesome forms often 
destroy our definitions. Forms which may be called " aber- 
rant " must sometimes be included within groups to which 
they do not accurately belong. Characters of all kinds must 
be used ; but as with birds in a state of nature, those afforded 
by the beak are the best and most readily appreciated. It 
is not possible to weigh the importance of all the characters 
which have to be used so as to make the groups and sub-groups 
of equal value. Lastly, a group may contain only one race, and 
another and less distinctly defined group may contain several 
races and sub-races, and in this case it is difficu t, as in the 
classification of natural species, to avoid placing too high a 
value on the number of forms which a group may contain. 

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

1 will now give a brief description of all the principal 
breeds. The diagram on the following page may aid the 
reader in learning their names and seeing their affinities. 
The rock-pigeon, or Columba Uvia (including under this name 

5 As I so often refer to the size of tween the measurements of two wild 
the C. Uvia, or rock-pigeon, it may birds, kindly sent me hy Dr. Kdmond- 
be convenient to give the mean be- stone from the Shetland Islands. 


Length from feathered base of beak to end of tail 14 - 2o 

„ ,, ,, „ to oil-gland .. .. 9*5 

„ from tip of beak to end of tail 15*02 

„ of tail-feathers 4*62 

„ from tip to tip of wing 26'75 

,, of folded winer 9*25 

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

,, Thickness, measured vertically at distal end of nostrils .. .. '23 

„ Breadth, measured at same place "16 

>'eet — Length from end of middle toe (without claw) to distal end ofl „ _ 

tibia / 

,, Length from end of middle toe to end of hind toe (without 1 
claws) / 

Weight 14j ounces. 


two or three closely-allied sub-species or geographical races, 


l -H/FlI.S 

'rt6" T ' t 

tig- 17.— The Rock Pigeon, or Columba The parent-form of all domesticate.] Pigeons. 

6 This drawing was made from a by Mr. TWetmeier. It may be con- 

dfix'i bird. The six following figures fidently asserted that the characters 

were drawn with great care by Mr. of the six breeds which have been 

Luke Wells from living birds selected figured are not in the least exaggerate!. 







Chap. V. 

Dove cot pigeon 




English Frill-back. 










i— i 










P ' *" 






SB — 



P d 

d n 
o © 


'a a 

o d 


e3 _cj 
£ d 



Ph / 

o \ 





\ !N 

. . ->.4 

















■ o 









d d 
o d 



S Q 


V P 



. o 



S3 ES jg 

■ ° s s 

S-c ....*<s> 

d .*• 




•5 fc 



hereafter to be described), may be confidently viewed, as we 
shall see in the next chapter, as the common parent-form. 
The names in italics on the right-hand side of the page show 
us the most distinct breeds, or those which have undergone 
the greatest amount of modification. The lengths of the 
dotted lines rudely represent the degree of distinctness of 
each breed from the parent -stock, and the names placed 
under each other in the columns show the more or less 
closely connecting links. The distances of the dotted lines 
from each other approximately represent the amount of 
difference between the several breeds. 

Group I. 

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

Eace I. — Pouter Pigeons. (Kropftauben, German. Grosses- 
gorges, or boulans, French.) 

Oesophagus of great size, barely separated from the crop, often 
inflated. Body and legs elongated. Beak of moderate dimen- 

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



Chap. V 

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 

Fig. 18. — English Pouter. 

generally 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. livm, 
the legs and feet are actually longer. The wings appear much 
elongated, but by measurement, iu 1 elation 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), pro) oitionally 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 34i 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 28i and 14J. There are 
many sub-varieties of the Pouter of different colours, but these I 
pass over. 

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

Sub-race III. The Lille Pouter. — I know this breed only from 
description. 8 It approaches in general form the Dutch Pouter, but 
the inflated 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 always 
be trusted. This sub-race seems considerably different. The 
upper part of the oesophagus is much less distended. The bird 
stands less upright. The feet are not feathered, and the legs and 
beak are shorter. In these respects there is an approach in form 
to the common rock-pigeon. The tail-feathers are very long, yet 
the tips of the closed wings extend beyond the end of the tail ; and 
the length of the wings, from tip to tip, and of the body, is greater 
than in the English Pouter. 

Group II. 

This group includes three Races, namely, Camera, Runts, 
and I )arbs, which, are manifestly allied to each other. Indeed, 
certain carriers and runts pass into each other by such, in- 
sensible gradations that an arbitrary line has to be diawn 
between them. Carriers also graduate through foreign breeds 
into the rock-pigeon. Yet, if well-characterised Carriers and 

7 'Das Ganze der Tanbenzucht :' 8 Boitard and Corbie, ' Les Pigeons,' 

Weimar, 1837, pi. 11 and 12. &c, p. 177, pi. 0. 


Barbs (see figs. 19 and 20) had existed as wild species, no 
ornithologist would have placed thern in the same genus 
with each other or with the rock-pigeon. This group may, 
as a general rule, be recognised by the beak being long, with 
the skin over the nostrils swollen and often carunculated or 
wattled, and with that round the eyes bare and likewise 
carunculated. The mouth is very wide, and the feet are 
large. Nevertheless the Barb, which must be classed in this 
same group, has a very short beak, and some runts have very 
little bare skin round their eyes. 

Race II. — Carriers. (Tiirkische Tauben ; pigeons turcs, 


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

Sub-race I. TJie English Carrier. — This is a fine bird, of large size, 
close feathered, generally dark-colcured, with an elongated neck. 
The beak is attenuated and of wonderful length : in one specimen 
it was 1*4 inch in length from the feathered base to the tip ; there- 
fore 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 com- 
parison; and according to this standard, the beak in one Carrier 
was nearly half an inch longer than in the rock-pigeon. The upper 
mandible is often slightly arched. The tongue is very long. The 
development of the carunculated skin or wattle round the eyes, 
over the nostrils, and on the lower mandible, is prodigious. The 
eyelids, measured longitudinally, were in some specimens exactly 
twice as long as in the rock-pigeon. The external orifice or furrow 
of the nostrils was also twice as long. The open mouth in its 
widest part was in one case "75 of an inch in width, whereas in the 
rock-pigeon it is only about 4 of an inch. This great width of 
mouth is shown in the skeleton by the reflexed edges of the ramus 
of the lower jaw. The head is flat on the summit and narrow 
between the orbits. The feet are large and coarse ; the length, as 
measured from end of hind toe to end of middle toe (without the 
claws), was in two specimens 2'6 inches; and this, proportionally 
with the rock-pigeon, is an excess of nearly a quarter of an inch 
One very fine Carrier measured 31s inches from tip to tip of wing. 
Birds of this sub-race are too valuable to be flown as carriers. 

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

Chap. V. 



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


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

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

9 ' Die Taubenzucht,' Ulm, 1824, s. iu 1770: I owe to the great kindness 
42. of Sir W. Elliot a translation of this 

10 This treatise was written by curious treatise. 
Savzid Mohimmed Musari, who died 


informs mo that in the living bird the eye seems remarkably large 
and prominent, and the same fact is noticed in the Persian treatise ; 
but the bony orbit is barely larger than that in the rock-pigeon. 

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

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

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

Beak long, massive; body of great size. 

Inextricable confusion reigns in the classification, affinities, and 
naming of Bunts. 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 Bunts. 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, Bunts graduate in so 
insensible a manner into Carriers, that the distinction is quite 
arbitrary. This fact is likewise shown by the names given to them 
in different parts of Europe. Nevertheless, taking the most distinct 
forms, at least five sub-races (some of them including well-marked 
varieties) can be distinguished, which differ in such important 
points of structure, that they would be considered as good species 
in a state of nature. 

Sub-race I. Scanderoon of English Writer^ (die Florentiner and 
Hinkeltauben of Neumeister). — Birds of this sub-race, of which 
1 kept one alive and ha^e since seen two others, differ from the 
Bagadotten of Neumeister only in not having the beak nearly so 
much curved downwards, and in the naked skin round the eyes 
and over the nostrils being hardly at all wattled. Nevertheless 
I have felt myself compelled to place the Bagadotten in Race IL, 
or that of the Carriers, and the present bird in Race III., or that of 


the Rants. The Scanderoon has a very short, narrow, and elevated 
tail ; wings extremely short, so that the first primary feathers were 
not longer than those of a small tumbler pigeon ! Neck long, much 
bowed ; breast-bone prominent. Beak long, being 1*15 inch from 
tip to feathered base ; vertically thick ; slightly curved downwards. 
The skin over the nostrils swollen, not wattled ; naked skin round 
the eyes, broad, slightly carunculated. Legs long ; feet very large. 
Skin of neck bright red, often showing a naked medial line, with 
a naked red patch at the distal end of the radius of the wing. 
My bird, as measured from the base of the beak to the root of the 
tail, was fully 2 inches longer than the rock-pigeon ; yet the tail 
itself was only 4 inches in length, whereas in the rock-pigeon, 
which is a much smaller bird, the tail is 4f inches in length. 

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

Sub-race II. Pigeon cygne and Pigeon hagadais of Bmtard and 
Corbie (Scanderoon of French writers). — I kept two of these birds 
alive, imported from France. They differed from the first sub-race 
or true Scanderoon in the much greater length of the wing and 
tail, in the beak not being so long, and in the skin about the head 
being more carunculated. The skin of the neck is red ; but the 
naked patches on the wings are absent. One of my birds measured 
38^ inches from tip to tip of wing. By taking the length of the 
body as the standard of comparison, the two wings were no less 
than 5 inches longer than those of the rock-pigeon ! The tail was 
6£ inches in length, and therefore 2i inches longer than that of the 
Scanderoon, — a bird of nearly the same size. Tbe beak is longer, 
thicker, and broader than in the rock-pigeon, proportionally with 
the size of body. The eyelids, nostrils, and internal gape of mouth 
are all proportionally very large, as in Carriers. The foot, from the 
end of the middle to end of hind toe, was actually 2'85 inches in 
length, which is an excess of "32 of an inch over the foot of the rock- 
pigeon, proportionally to the relative size of the two birds. 

Sub-race III. Spanish and Roman Punts. — I am not sure that I 
am right in placing these Bunts 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 Bunt with hardly any naked skin 
round the eyes. Of the two varieties to be seen in England, one, 
which is the rarer, has very long wings and tail, and agrees pretty 
.closely with the last sub-race ; the other, with shorter wings and 
tail, is apparently the Piyeon romain ordinaire of Boitard and Corbie, 


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

Sub-race IV. Tronfo of Aldrovandi (Leghorn Eunt ?). — 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 Eunt of which " the beak was 
very short for so large a bird." In other respects Moore's bird 
resembled the first sub- race or Scanderoon, for it had a long bowed 
neck, long legs, short beak, and elevated tail, and not much wattle 
about the head. So that Aldrovandi'sand Moore's birds must have 
formed distinct varieties, both of which seem to be now extinct in 
Europe. Sir W. Elliot, however, informs me that he has seen in 
Madras a short-beaked Eunt imported from Cairo. 

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

From these several descriptions we see that with Eunts, as with 
Carriers, we have a fine gradation from the rock-pigeon (with the 
Tronfo diverging as a distinct branch) to our largest and most 
massive Eunts. But the chain of affinities, and many points of re- 
semblance, between Eunts and carriers, make me believe that theso 
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. 

E ace IV. — Barbs. (Indische Tauben ; pigeons polonais.) 

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

Misled by the extraordinary shortness and form of the beak, I did 
not at first perceive the near affinity of this Eace to that of Carriers 
until the fact was pointed out to me by Mr. Brent. Subsequently, 
after examining the Bussorah Carrier, I saw that no very great amount 

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


domestic pigeons: 

Chap. V 

of modification would be requisite to convert it into a Barb. This 
view of the affinity of Barbs to Carriers is supported by the 
analogical difference between the short and long-beaked Bunts ; and 

still more strongly by the fact, that young Barbs and Dragons, 
within 24 hours after being hatched, resemble each other much more 
closely than do young pigeons of other ami < qually distinct breedSr 


At this early age, the length of beak, the swollen skin over the 
rather open nostrils, the gape of the mouth, and the size of the feet, 
are the same in both; although these parts afterwards become 
widely different. We thus see that embryology (as the comparison 
of very young animals may perhaps be called) comes into play in 
the classification of domestic varieties, as with species in a state of 

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

Group III. 

This group is artificial, and includes a heterogeneous collec- 
tion of distinct forms. It may be defined by the beak, in 
well-characterized 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 Fantails (Pfauentauben ; trembleurs). 
Tail expanded, directed upivards, formed of many feathers ; oil-gland 
uborted ; body and beak rather short. 

The normal number of tail-feathers in the genus Columba is 12 ; 
but Fantails have from only 12 (as has been asserted) up to, 
according to MM. Boitard and' Corbie, 42. I have counted in one 
of my own birds 33, and at Calcutta Mr. Blyth 12 has counted in an 
imperfect tail 34 feathers. In Madras, as I am informed by Sir W. 

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


Elliot, 32 is the standard number ; but in England number is ranch 









less valued than the position and expansion of the tail. The feathers 
are arranged in an irregular double row; their permanent fanlike 


expansion and their upward direction are more remarkable characters 
than their increased number. The tail is capable of the same move- 
ments 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 vertebrae. 
I have examined many specimens of various colours from different 
countries, and there was no trace of the oil-gland ; this is a curious 
case of abortion. 13 The neck is thin and bowed backwards. The 
breast is broad and protuberant. The feet are small. The carriage 
of the bird is very different from that of other pigeons; in good 
birds the head touches the tail-feathers, which consequently often 
become crumpled. They habitually tremble much : and their necks 
have an extraordinary, apparently convulsive, backward and forward 
movement. Good birds walk in a singular manner, as if their small 
feet were stiff. Owing to their large tails, they fly badly on a windy 
day. The dark-coloured varieties are generally larger than white 

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 impossible to 
make more than one sub-race. Moore, hoAvever, an excellent old 
authority, 14 says, that in 1735 there were two sorts of broad-tailed 
shakers (*. 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-race JT. Java Fantail. — Mr. Swinhoe sent me from Amoy, in 
China, the skin of a Fantail belonging to a breed known to have 
been imported from Java. It was coloured in a peculiar manner, 
unlike any European Fantail ; and, for a Fantail, had a remarkably 
short beak. Although a good bird of the kind, it had only 14 tail- 
feathers ; but Mr. Swinhoe has counted in other birds of this breed 
from 18 to 24 tail-feathers. From a rough sketch sent to me, it is 
evident that the tail is not so much expanded or so much upraised 
as in even second-rate European Fantails. The bird shakes its neck 
like our Fantails. It had a well-developed oil-gland. Fantails 
were known in India, as we shall hereafter see, before the year 1600 ; 
and we may suspect that in the Java Fantail we see the breed in 
its earlier and less improved condition. 

13 This gland occurs in most birds ; species of Columba, which are desti- 

but Nitzsch (in his ' Pterylographie/ tute of an oil-gland, have an unusual 

1840, p. 55) states that it is absent number of tail-feathers, namely 16, 

in two species of Columba, in several and in this respect resemble Fantails. 
spscies of Psittacus, in some species of 14 See the two excellent editions 

Otis, and in most or all birds of the published by Mr. J. M. Eaton in 1852 

Ostrich family. It can hardly be an and 1858, entitled 'A Treatise on 

accidental coincidence that the two Fancy Pigeons.' 


Race VI. — Turbit and Owl. (Moventauben ; pigeons a 


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

Turbits and Owls differ from each other slightly in the shape of 
the head; the former have a crest, and the beak is differently 
curved ; but they may be here conveniently grouped together. 
These pretty birds, some of which are very small, can be recognised 
at once by the feathers irregularly diverging, like a frill, along the 
front of the neck, in the same manner, but in a less degree, as along 
the back of the neck in the Jacobin. They have the remarkable 
habit of continually and momentarily inflating the upper part of 
the oesophagus, which causes a movement in the frill. When 
the oesophagus of a dead bird is inflated, it is seen to be larger than 
in other breeds, and not so distinctly separated from the crop. 
The Pouter inflates both its true crop and 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. 

L»ace VII. — Tumblkks. (Tummler, or Burzeltauben ; cul- 


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

This race may be divided into four sub-races, namely, Persian, 
Lotan, Common, and short-faced Tumblers. These sub-races 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 received a pair direct from Persia, 
from the Hon. C. Murray. They are rather smaller birds than the 
wild rock-pigeon, about the size of the common dovecot pigeon, 
white and mottled, slightly feathered on the feet, with the beak just 
perceptibly shorter than in the rock-pigeon. H.M. Consul, Mr. 
Keith Abbott, informs me that the difference in the length of beak is 
so slight, that only practised Persian fanciers can distinguish these 
Tumblers from the common pigeon of the country. He informs me 
that they fly in flocks high up in the air and tumble well. Some of 

Chap. V. 



them occasionally appear to become giddy and tumble to the ground, 
in which respect they resemble some of our Tumblers. 

Sub-race II. Lotan, or Lowtun : Indian Ground Tumblers.— These 
birds present one of the most remarkable inherited habits or instincts 
ever recorded. The specim3ns sent to me from Madras by Sir W. 


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

Sub-rwe III. Common English Twubleis. — These birds have 
exactly the same habits as the Persian Tumbler, but tumble better. 
The English bird is rather smaller than the Persian, and the beak 
is plainly shorter. Compared with the rock-pigeon, and propor- 
tionally with the size of body, the beak is from T5 to nearly '2 of 
an inch shorter, but it is not thinner. There are several varieties 
of the common Tumbler, namely, Baldheads, Beards, and Dutch 
Pollers. I have kept the latter alive ; they have differently shaped 
heads, longer necks, and are feather- footed. They tumble to an 
extraordinary degree ; as Mr. Brent remarks, 16 " Every few seconds 
" over they go ; one, two, or three summersaults at a time. Here 
" and there a bird gives a very quick and rapid spin, revolving like 
" a wheel, though they sometimes lose their balance, and make a 
" rather ungraceful fall, in which they occasionally hurt themselves 
" by striking some object." 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, v l7 which is a Scotch variety, not 

15 English translation, by F. Glad- seen at any of the Calcutta bird- 
win, 4th edition, vol. i. The habit dealers." 

of the Lotan is also described in the 16 ' Journal of Horticulture,' Oct. 

Persian treatise before alluded to, 22, 1861, p. 76. 

published about 100 years ago : at this 17 See the account of the House- 
date the Lotans were generally white tumblers kept at Glasgow, in the ' Cot- 
and crested as at present. Mr. Blyth tage Gardener,' 1858, p. 285. Also 
describes these birds in ' Annals and Mr. Brent's paper, ' Journal of Horti- 
Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. xiv., 1847, culture,' 1861, p. 76. 
p. 104; he says that they "may be 


differing in general appearance and form of beak from the common 
Tumbler. Mr, Brent states that these birds generally begin to 
tumble "almost as soon as they can well fly ; at three months old 
" they tumble well, but still fly strong ; at five or six months they 
" tumble excessively ; and in the second year they mostly give up 
"flying, on account of their tumbling so much and so close to the 
" ground. Some fly round with the flock, throwing a clean summer- 
" sault every few yards, till they are obliged to settle from giddiness 
" and exhaustion. These are called Air Tumblers, and they com- 
" monly throw from twenty to thirty summersaults in a minute. 
" each clear and clean. I have one red cock that I have on two or 
*' three occasions timed by my watch, and counted forty summer- 
" saults in the minute. Others tumble differently. At first they 
" throw a single summersault, then it is double, till it becomes a 
"continuous roll, which puts an end to flying, for if they fly a few 
" yards over they go, and roll till they reach the ground. Thus I 
" had one kill herself, and another broke his leg. Many of them 
" turn over only a few inches from the ground, and will tumble two 
" or three times in flying across their loft. These are called House- 
u tumblers, from tumbling in the house. The act of tumbling seems 
" to be one over which they have no control, an involuntary move- 
*' ment which they seem to try to prevent. I have seen a bird some- 
" times in his struggles fly a yard or two straight upwards, the 
" impulse forcing him backwards while he struggles to go forwards. 
" If suddenly startled, or in a strange place, they seem less able to 
" fly than if quiet in their accustomed loft." These House-tumblers 
differ from the Lotan or Ground Tumbler of India, in not requiring 
to be shaken in order to begin tumbling. The breed has probably 
been formed merely by selecting the best common Tumblers, though 
it is possible that they may have been crossed at some former period 
with Lotans. 

Sub-race IV. Short-faced Tumblers — These are marvellous birds, 
and are the glory and pride of many fanciers. In their extremely 
short, sharp, and conical beaks, with the skin over the nostrils but 
little developed, they almost depart from the type of the Columbidse. 
Their heads are nearly globular and upright in front, so that some 
fanciers say J8 " the head should resemble a cherry with a barley- 
corn stuck in it." These are the smallest kind of pigeons. Mr. 
Esquilant possessed a blue Baldhead, two years old, which when 
alive weighed, before feeding-time, only 6oz. 5drs. ; two others, 
each weighed 7 oz. We have seen that a wild rock-pigeon weighed 
14 oz. 2 drs., and a Eunt 34 oz. 4 drs. Short-faced Tumblers have 
a remarkably erect carriage, with prominent breasts, drooping wings, 
and very small feet. The length of the beak from the tip to the 
feathered base was in one good bird only "4 of an inch ; in a wild 
rock-pigeon it was exactly double this length. As these Tumblers 
have shorter bodies than the wild rock-pigeon, they ought of course 

18 J. M. Eaton's 'Treatise on Pigeons,' 1852, p. 9. 


to have shorter beaks; but proportionally with the size of the body, 

the beak is -28 of an inch too short. So, again, the feet of this bird 


were actually *45 shorter, and proportionally "21 of an inch shorter, 
than the feet of the rock-pigeon. The middle toe has only twelve 
or thirteen, instead of fourteen or fifteen scutellse. The primary 
wing-feathers are not rarely nine instead of ten in number. The 
improved short -faced Tumblers have almost lost the power of 
tumbling ; but there are several authentic accounts of their occa- 
sionally tumbling. There are several sub-varieties, such as Bald- 
heads, Beards, Mottles, and Almonds; the latter are remarkable 
from not acquiring their perfectly-coloured plumage until they have 
moulted three or four times. There is good reason to believe that 
most of these sub-varieties, some of which breed truly, have arisen 
since the publication of Moore's treatise in 1735. 19 

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

Race VIII. — Indian Frill-back. 

Beak very short ; feathers reversed. 

A specimen of this bird, in spirits, was sent to me from Madras 
by Sir W. Elliot. It is wholly different from the Frill-back often 
exhibited in England. It is a smallish bird, about the size of the 
common Tumbler, but has a beak in all its proportions like our 
short-faced Tumblers. The beak, measured from the tip to the 
feathered base, was only '46 of an inch in length. The feathers 
over the whole body are reversed or curl backwards. Had this bird 
occurred in Europe, 1 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. Pro- 
bably this is the breed seen by Hasselquist in 1757 at Cairo, and 
said to have been imported from India. 

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

Feathers of the neck forming a hood ; ivings and tail long ; hcak 
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 


J. M. Eaton's Treatise, edit. 1858. p. 76. 


which in the Latztaube 20 is in a nearly intermediate state between 
a hood and a crest. The feathers of the hood are elongated. Both 
the wings and tail are likewise much elongated ; thus the folded 
wing of the Jacobin, though a somewhat smaller bird, is fully H 
inch longer than in the rock-pigeon. Taking the length of the 
body without the tail as the standard of comparison, the folded wing, 
proportionally with the wings of the rock-pigeon, is 2i inches too 
long, and the two wings, from tip to tip, 5| inches too long. In 
disposition this bird is singularly quiet, seldom flying or moving 
about, as Bechstein and Biedel have likewise remarked in 
Germany. 21 The latter author also notices the length of the wings 
and tail. The beak is nearly *2 of an inch shorter in proportion to 
the size of the body than in the rock-pigeon ; but the internal gape 
of the mouth is considerably wider. 

Group IV. 

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

Race X. — Trumpeter. (Trommel tan be ; pigeon tambour, 


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

This is a well-marked breed, with a peculiar voice, wholly unlike 
that of any other pigeon. The coo is rapidly repeated, and is 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. 

20 Neumeister, ' Taubenzucht,' Tab. s. 26. Bechstein, ' Naturgeschichte 
4. fig. i. Deutschlands,' Band iv. s. 36, 1795. 

71 Riedel, < Die Taubenzucht,' 1824, 


Race HI.— Scarcely differing in structure from the wild 

Columbia livia. 

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

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

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

Sub-race IV. S/ots (die Blasstauben ; pigeons heurtes). — These 


birds arc a very little larger than the rock-pigeon, with the beak a 
trace smaller in all its dimensions, and with the feet decidedly 
smaller. They are symmetrically coloured, with a spot on the 
forehead, with the tail and tail-coverts of the same colour, the rest 
of the body being white. This breed existed in 1676 ; 22 and in 1735 
Moore remarks that they breed truly, as is the case at the present day. 
Sub-race V. Swallows. — These birds, as measured from tip to tip 
of wing, or from the end of the beak to the end of the tail, exceed 
in size the rock-pigeon ; but their bodies are much less bulky ; 
their feet and legs are likewise smaller. The beak is of about the 
same length, but rather slighter. Altogether their general appear- 
ance is considerably different from that of the rock-pigeon. Their 
heads and wings are of the same colour, the rest of the body being 
white. Their flight is said to be peculiar. This seems to be a 
modern breed, which, however, originated before the year 1795 in 
Germany, for it is described by Bechstein. 

Besides the several breeds now described, three or four other very 
distinct kinds existed lately, or perhaps still exist, in Germany and 
France. Firstly, the Karmeliten, or carme pigeon, which I have 
not seen ; it is described as of small size, with very short legs, and 
with an extremely short beak. Secondly, the Finnikin, which is 
now extinct in England. It had, according to Moore's 23 treatise, 
published in 1735, a tuft of feathers on the hinder part of the head, 
which ran down its back not unlike a horses mane. " When it is 
salacious it rises over the hen and turns round three or four times, 
napping 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 
pigeon 24 which has the singular habit of sailing for a considerable 
time through the air, without flapping its wings, like a bird of prey. 
The confusion is inextricable, from the time of Aldrovandi in 1600 
to the present day, in the accounts published of the Draijers, 
Stniters, Finnikins, Turners, Claquers, &c., which are all remark- 
able from their manner of flight. Mr. Brent informs me that he 
has seen one of these breeds in Germany with its wing-feathers 
injured from having been so often struck together but he did not 
see it flying. An old stuffed specimen of a Finnikin in the British 
Museum presents no well-marked character. Thirdly, a singular 
pigeon with a forked tail is mentioned in some treatises ; and as 
Bechstein 25 briefly describes and figures this bird, with a tail "having 

22 Willughby's' Ornithology,' edited 24 Pigeon pattu plongeur. ' Les 
by Ray. Pigeons,' &c, p. 165. 

23 J. M. Eaton's tdition (1858) of 25 ' Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,' 
Moore, p. 98. Band iv. s. 47. 


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 Belguim has lately been 
exhibited at the Philoperisteron Society in London, 26 which " con- 
joins the colour of an archangel with the head of an owl or barb, 
its most striking peculiarity being the extraordinary length of the 
tail and wing-feathers, the latter crossing beyond the tail, and giving 
to the bird the appearance of a gigantic swift (Cypselus), or long- 
winged hawk." Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that this bird weighed 
only 10 ounces, but in length was 15 £ inches from tip to 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 to 
beak to end of tail 15 inches, and from tip to tip of wing only 261 

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 like- 
wise include many strictly inherited varieties ; so that 
altogether there must exist, as previously remarked, above 
150 kinds which can be distinguished, though generally by 
characters of extremely slight importance. Many of the 
genera of the Columbidas, admitted by ornithologists, do not 
differ in any great degree from each other ; taking this into 
consideration, there can be no doubt that several of the most 
strongly characterised domestic forms, if found wild, would 
have been placed in at least five new genera. Thus a new 
genus would have been formed for the reception of the 
improved English Pouter : a second genus for Carriers and 
Runts ; and this would have been a wide or comprehensive 
genus, for it would have admitted common Spanish Runts 
without any wattle, short-beaked Runts like the Tronfo, and 
the improved English Carrier : a third genus would have 
been formed for the Barb : a fourth for the Fan tail : and 
lastly, a fifth for the short beaked, not- wattled pigeons, such 

16 Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier, < Journal of Horticulture,' Jan. 20th, 1863, p. 58. 


as Turbits and short-faced Tumblers. The remaining do- 
mestic forms might have been included, in the same genus 
with the wild rock-pigeon. 

Individual Variability ; variations of a remarkable nature. 

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

I have made numerous measurements of the various parts of the 
body in the several breeds, and have hardly ever found them quite 
the same in birds of the same breed, — the differences being greater 
than we commonly meet with in wild species within the same 
district. To begin with the primary feathers of the wing and tail ; 
but I must first mention, as some readers may not be aware of the 
fact, that the number of the primary wing and tail-feathers in wild 
birds is generally constant, and characterises, not only whole genera, 
but even whole families. When the tail-feathers are unusually 
numerous, as for instance in the swan, they are apt to be variable 
in number ; but this does not apply to the several species and genera 
of the Columbidse, which never (as far as I can hear) have less than 
twelve or more than sixteen tail-feathers; and these numbers cha- 


racterisc, with rare exception, whole sub-families. 27 The wild rock- 
pigeon has twelve tail-feathers. With Fantails, as we have seen, 
the number varies from fourteen to forty-two. In two young birds 
in the same nest I counted twenty-two and twenty-seven feathers. 
Pouters are very liable to have additional tail-feathers, and I have 
seen on several occasions fourteen or fifteen in my own birds. Mr. 
Bult had a specimen, examined by Mr. Yarrell, with seventeen tail- 
feathers. I had a Nun with thirteen, and another with fourteen 
tail- feathers ; and in a Helmet, a breed barely distinguishable from 
the Nun, I have counted fifteen, and have heard of other such 
instances. On the other hand, Mr. Brent possessed a Dragon, which 
during its whole life never had more than ten tail-feathers ; and one 
of my Dragons, descended from Mr. Brent's, had only eleven. I 
have seen a Paid-head Tumbler with only ten; and Mr. Brent 
had an Air - Tumbler with the same number, but another with 
fourteen tail-feathers. Two of these latter Tumblers, bred by Mr. 
Brent, were remarkable, — one from having the two central tail- 
feathers a little divergent, and the other from having the two outer 
feathers longer by three-eighths of an inch than the others ; so that 
in both cases the tail exhibited a tendency, but in different ways, to 
become forked. And this shows us how a swallow-tailed breed, 
like that described by Bechstein, might have been formed by careful 

With respect to the primary wing-feathers, the number in the 
Columbidse, as far as I can find out, is always nine or ten. In the 
rock-pigeon it is ten ; but I have seen no less than eight short-faced 
Tumblers with only nine primaries, and the occurrence of this 
number has been noticed by fanciers, owing to ten primaries of 
a white colour being one of the points in Short-faced Baldhead- 
Tumblers. Mr. Brent, however, had an Air-Tumbler (not short- 
faced) which had in both wings eleven primaries. Mr. Corker, the 
eminent breeder of prize Carriers, assures me that some of his birds 
had eleven primaries in both wings. I have seen eleven in one 
wing in two Pouters. I have been assured by three fanciers that 
they have seen twelve in Scanderoons ; but as Neumeister asserts 
that in the allied Florence Runt the middle flight-feather is often 
double, the number twelve may have been caused by two of the ten 
primaries having each two shafts to a single feather. The secondary 
wing-feathers are difficult to count, but the number seems to vary 
from twelve to fifteen. The length of the wing and tail relatively 
to the body, and of the wings to the tail, certainly varies ; I have 
especially noticed this in Jacobins. In Mr. Bult's magnificent col- 

27 ' Coup-d'oeil sur l'Ordre des Pi- Ectopistes, which are nearly allied to 

geons,' par C. L. Bonaparte ('Comptes each other, one should have fourteen 

Rendus'), 1854-55. Mr. Blyth, in tail-feathers, while the other, the 

'Annals of Nat. Hist.,' vol. xix., 1847, passenger pigeon of North America > 

p. 41, mentions, as a very singular should possess but the usual numtef 

fact, " that of the two species of — twelve." 


lection of Pouters, the wings and tail varied greatly in length ; and 
were sometimes so much elongated that the birds could hardly play 
upright. In the relative length of the few first primaries I have 
observed only a slight degree of variability. Mr. Brent informs me 
that he has observed the shape of the first feather to vary very 
slightly. But the variation in these latter points is extremely slight 
compared with the differences which may be observed in the natural 
species of the Columbidae. 

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

The number of the scute Ua3 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 Punt with sixteen on the 
middle and eight on the hind toe ; and a short-faced Tumbler with 
only twelve and five on these same toes. The rock-pigeon has no 
sensible amount of skin between its toes ; but I possessed a Spot 
and a Nun with the skin extending for a space of a quarter of an 
inch from the fork, between the two inner toes. On the other hand, 
as will hereafter be more fully shown, pigeons with feathered feet 
very generally have the bases of their outer toes connected by skin. 
I had a red Tumbler, which had a coo unlike that of its fellows, 
approaching in tone to that of the Laugher : this bird had the habit, 
to a degree which I never saw equalled in any other pigeon, of often 
walking with its wings raised and arched in an elegant manner. I 
need say nothing on the great variability, in almost every breed, in 
size of body, in colour, in the feathering of the feet, and in the 
feathers on the back of the head being reversed. But I may mention 
a remarkable Tumbler 28 exhibited at the Crystal Palace, which had 
an irregular crest of feathers on its head, somewhat like the tuft on 
the head of the Polish fowl. Mr. Bult reared a hen Jacobin with 
the feathers on the thigh so long as to reach the ground, and a cock 
having, but in a lesser degree, the same peculiarity : from these two 
birds he bred others similarly characterised, which were exhibited 

28 Described and figured in the ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. Hi., 1855, p. 82. 


at ihe Philojperisteron Soc. I bred a mongrel pigeon which had 
fibrous feathers, and the wing and tail-feaihers so snort and imper- 
fect that the bird could not fly even a foot in height. 

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

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

There is another interesting fact with respect to the 

29 'The Pigeon Book,' by Mr. B. P. 31 'A Treatise on the Almond-Tum- 
Brent, 1859, p. 41. bier, by J. M. Eaton, 1852, p. 8, et 

30 ' D>e ctaarh'alsige Tanbe. Das passim. 
Gr.n^e, &c.,' s. 21, tab. i. fig. 4. 



Chap. V. 

characters of the several breeds, namely, that they are often 
most strongly displayed in the male bird. In Carriers, when 
the males and females are exhibited in separate pens, the 
wattle is plainly seen to be much more developed in the 
males, though I have seen a hen Carrier belonging to Mr. 
Haynes heavily wattled. Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that, 
in twenty Barbs in Mr. P. H. Jones's possession, the males 
had generally the largest eye- wattles ; Mr. Esquilant also 
believes in this rule, but Mr. H. Weir, a first-rate judge, 
entertains some doubt on the subject. Male Pouters distend 
their crops to a much greater size than do the females ; I 
have, however, seen a hen in the possession of Mr. Evans 
which pouted excellently ; but this is an unusual circumstance. 
Mr. Harrison Weir, a successful breeder of prize Fantails, 
informs me that his male birds often have a greater number 
of tail-feathers than the females. Mr. Eaton asserts 32 that 
if a cock and hen Tumbler were of equal merit, the hen would 
be worth double the money ; and as pigeons always pair, so 
that an equal number of both sexes is necessary for repro- 
duction, this seems to show that high merit is rarer in the 
female than in the male. In the development of the frill in 
Turbits, of the hood in Jacobins, of the tuft in Trumpeters, 
of tumbling in Tumblers, there is no difference between the 
males and females. I may here add a rather different case, 
namely, the existence in France 33 of a wine-coloured variety 
of the Pouter, in which the male is generally chequered with 
black, whilst the female is never so chequered. Dr. Chapuis 
also remarks 34 that in certain light-coloured pigeons the 
males have their feathers striated with black, and these striae 
increase in size at each moult, so that the male ultimately 
becomes spotted with black. With Carriers, the wattle, both 

32 A Treatise, &c, p. 10. 

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

34 ' Le Pigeon Voyageur Beige,' 
1865, p. 87. I have given in my 
' Descent of Man ' (6th edit. p. 466) 
some curious cases, on the authority 
of Mr. Tegetmeier, of silver-coloured 
(i. e. very pale blue) birds being 

generally femnles, and of the ease 
with which a race thus characterise.} 
could be produced. Bonizzi (see 
' Variazioni dei Columbi domestici :' 
Padova, 1873) states that certain 
coloured spots are often different in 
the two sexes, and the certain tints 
are commoner in females than in male 


on the beak and round the eyes, and with Barbs that round 
the eyes, goes on increasing with age. This augmentation 
of character with advancing age, and more especially the 
difference between the males and females in the above- 
mentioned several respects, are remarkable facts, for there 
is no sensible difference at any age between the two sexes 
in the aboriginal rock-pigeon ; and not often any strongly 
marked difference throughout the family of the Colunibidce. 33 

Osteological Characters. 

In the skeletons of the various breeds there is much varia- 
bility ; and though certain differences occur frequently, and 
others rarely, in certain breeds, yet none can be said to be 
absolutely characteristic of any breed. Considering that 
strongly-marked domestic races have been formed chiefly by 
man's selection, we ought not to expect to find great and 
constant differences in the skeleton ; for fanciers neither see, 
nor do they care for, modifications of structure in the internal 
framework. Nor ought we to expect changes in the skeletons 
from changed habits of life ; as every facility is given to the 
most distinct breeds to follow the same habits, and the much 
modified races are never allowed to wander abroad and 
procure their own food in various ways. Moreover, I find, 
on comparing the skeletons of Columba livia, cenas, palumbus, 
and turtur, which are ranked by all systematists in two or 
three distinct though allied genera, that the differences are 
extremely slight, certainly less than between the skeletons 
of some of the most distinct domestic breeds. How far the 
skeleton of the wild rock-pigeon is constant L have had 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 

35 Prof. A. Newton (' Proc. Zoolog. family ef the Treronidse the sexes often 

Soc.,' 1865, p. 716) l'emarks that he ditf'er considerably in colour. See 

knows no species which present any also on sexual differences in the Coluin- 

remarkable sexual distinction ; but Mr. bida?, Gould, 'Handbook to the Birds 

Wallace informs me, that in the sub- of Australia,' vol. ii. pp. 109-149. 



Chap. V. 

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 elon- 


Fig. 24. — Skulls of Pigeons viewed laterally, uf natural size. A. Wild Kock-pigeon, 
Licia. B. Short-faced Tumbkr. C. English Currier. I>. Liuguduttea L'arrit 

Coin mba 

gation of the bones of the face, the space between the orbits is pro- 
portionally a little narrower than in the rock-pigeon. In the Baga- 
dotten the upper mandible is remarkably arched, and the prem axil- 
lary bones are proportionally broader In the Short-faced Tumbler 

Chap. V. 



the skull is more globular : all the bones of the face are much 
shortened, and the front of the skull and descending nasal bones are 
almost perpendicular : the maxillo-jugal arch and premaxillary 
bones form an almost straight line ; the space between the pro- 
minent edges of the eye-orbits is depressed. In the Barb the pre- 
maxillary bones are much shortened, and their anterior portion is 
thicker than in the rock-pigeon, as is the lower part of the nasal 
bone. In two Nuns the ascending branches of the premaxillaries, 
near their tips, were somewhat attenuated, and in these birds, as 
well as in some others, for instance in the Spot, the occipital crest 
over the foramen was considerably more prominent than in the 

In the lower jaw, the articular surface is proportionably smaller 
in many breeds than in the rock-pigeon ; and the vertical diameter, 

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

C. Barb. 

more especially of the outer part of the articular surface, is con- 
siderably shorter. May not this be accounted for by the lessened 
use of the jaws, owing to nutritious food having been given during 
a long period to all highly improved pigeons ? In Eunts, Carriers, 
and Barbs (and in a lesser degree in several breeds), the whole side 
of the jaw near the articular end is bent inwards in a highly re- 
markable manner ; and the superior margin of the ramus, beyond 
the middle, is reflexed in an equally remarkable manner, as may be 
seen in the accompanying figures, in comparison with the jaw of 
the rock-pigeon. This reflection of the upper margin of the lower 
jaw is plainly connected with the singularly wide gape of the 
mouth, as has been described in Runts, Carriers, and Barbs. The 
reflection is well shown in fig. 26 of the head of a Runt seen from 
above; here a wide open space may be observed on each side, 
between the edges of the lower jaw and of the premaxillary bones. 



Chap. V. 

In the rock-pigeon, and in several domestic breeds, the edges of the 
lower jaw on each side come close up to the premaxillary bones, so 


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

Fig. 27. — Latend view of jaws, of natural size. 
A. Rock pigeon. B. Short-laced Tumbler. C. 
Bagadoiten Carrier. 

that no open space is left. The degree of 
downward curvature of the distal half of 
the lower jaw also differs to an extra- 
ordinary 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 Neu- 
meister. In some Runts the symphysis of 
the lower jaw is remarkably solid. No one 
would readily have believed that jaws differing in the several 
above-specified points so greatly could have belonged to the same 

Vertebrae.— 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 

The dorsal vertebrae are always eight. Tn the rock-pigeon all 
eight bear ribs; the eight rib being very thin, and the seventh 
having no process. In Pouters all the ribs are extremely broad, 
eight bear ribs; the eighth rib being very thin and the seventh 
having no process. In Pouters all the ribs are extremely broad, 
and, in three out of four skeletons examined by me, the eighth rib 
was twice or even thrice as broad as in the rock-pigeon ; and the 


I am not sure that I have de- 
signated the different kinds of vertebrae 
correctly : but I observe that different 
anatomists follow in this respect dif- 

ferent rules, and, as I use the same 
terms in the comparison of all the 

skeletons, this, 

I hope, will net 

Chap. V. 



seventh pair had distinct processes. In many breeds there are 
only seven ribs, as in seven out of eight skeletons of various 
Tumblers, and in several skeletons of Fantails, Turbits and Nuns. 

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

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

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

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

Rock Pigeon. 

Pouter, from 



Mr. Bult. 

Dutch Roller. 


Cervical Vertebrae 





The 12th bore 
a small rib. 

Dorsal Vertebrae 





„ Ribs 





The 6th fair with 

The 6th and 

The 6th and 

The 6th and 

processes, the 7th 

7th pair with 

7th pair with- 

7th pair with- 

pair without a 


out processes. 

out processes. 


Sacral Vertebrae 





Caudal Vertebras 
Total Vertebrae 


8 or 9 




42 or 43 





Chap. V. 

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 Eunts. 

In the bones of the b 

extremities I could 

detect no difference, 

except in their pro- 
Fig. 28,-Scapute, of natural, portional lengths ; 
size. a. Rock-pigeon, a. for instance, the 
snort-faced Tumbler. metatarsus in a 

Pouter was 1*65 inch, and in a Short-faced 
Tumbler only "95 in length; and this is a 
greater difference than would naturally follow 
from their differently-sized bodies ; but long 
legs in the Pouter, and small feet in the 
Tumbler, are selected points. In some 
Pouters the scapula is rather straighter, and 
in some Tumblers it is straighter, with the 
apex less elongated, than in the rock-pigeon : 
in the woodcut, fig. 28, the scapulae of the 
rock-pigeon (a), and of a short-faced Tumbler 
(b), are given. The processes at the summit 
of the coracoid, which receive the extremities 
of the furculum, form a more perfect cavity in 
some Tumblers than in the rock-pigeon : in 
Pouters these processes are larger and dif- 
ferently shaped, and the exterior angle of 
the extremity of the coracoid, which is 
articulated to the sternum, is squarer. 

The two arms of the furculum in Pouters 
diverge less, proportionally to their length, 
than in the rock-pigeon ; and the symphysis 
is more solid and pointed. In Fantails the 
decree of divergence of the two arms varies Fig. 29.— ^rcula, of natural 

, •, ; t n on i size. A. SLort-faceil I u...- 

in a remarkable manner. In fig. 29, b and bier. B aud c Fantaii. d. 

c represent the furcula of two Fantails ; and Pouter. 

it will be seen that the divergence in b is rather less even than in the 


furculum of the short-faced, small-sized Tumbler (a), whereas the 
divergence in c equals that in a rock-pigeon, or in the Pouter (d), 
though the latter is a much larger bird. The extremities of the furcu- 
lum, where articulated to the coracoids, vary considerably in outline. 
In the sternum the differences in form are slight, except in the 
size and outline of the perforations, which, both in the larger and 
lesser sized breeds, are sometimes small. These perforations, also, 
are sometimes either nearly circular, or elongated as is often the 
case with Carriers. The posterior perforations occasionally are not 
complete, being left open posteriorly. The marginal apophyses 
forming the anterior perforations vary greatly in development. 
The degree of convexity of the posterior part of the sternum differs 
much, being sometimes almost perfectly flat. The manubrium is 
rather more prominent in some individuals than in others, and the 
pore immediately under it varies greatly in size. 

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


beak longer by *23 of an inch, whilst its tongue was shorter 
by *14 than in the other. 

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

The great diiference (see woodcut No. 27) in the curvature 
of the lower jaw in the rock-pigeon, the Tumbler, and Baga- 
dotten Carrior, stands in obvious relation to the curvature of 
the upper jaw, and more especially to the angle formed bv 
the maxillo-jugal arch with the premaxillary bones. But in 
Carriers, Runts, and Barbs the singular reflexion of the upper 
margin of the middle part of the lower jaw (see woodcut 
No. 25) is not strictly 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 mandible. 

In Pouters, the elongation of the body is a selected cha- 
racter, and the ribs, as we have seen, have generally become 
very broad, with the seventh pair furnished with processes ; the 


sacral and caudal vertebras have been augmented in number ; 
the sternum has likewise increased in length (but not in the 
depth of the crest) by *4 of an inch more than would follow 
from the greater bulk of the body in comparison with that 
of the rock-pigeon. In Fantails, the length and number of 
the caudal vertebras have increased. Hence, during the 
gradual progress of variation and selection, the internal bony 
framework and the external shape of the body have been, to 
a certain extent, modified in a correlated manner. 

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

Mr. Tegetmeier has informed me of a curious and inexpli- 
cable case of correlation, namely, that young pigeons of all 
breeds which when mature become white, }~ellow, silver (i.e., 
extremely pale blue), or dun-coloured, are born almost naked ; 

37 J. M.Eaton's Treatise, edit. 1858, p. 78. 


whereas pigeons of other colours are born well-clothed with 
down. Mr. Esquilant, however, has observed that young 
dun Carriers are not so bare as young dun Barbs and Tumblers. 
Mr. Tegetmeier has seen two young birds in the same nest, 
produced from differently coloured parents, which differed 
greatly in the degree to which they were at first clothed with 

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

The feet of the smaller and larger breeds are of course 
much smaller or larger than those of the rock-pigeon ; but 
the scutelhe 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 
scutellse on the feet is usually a constant character. The 
length of the feet and the length of the beak apparently 
stand in correlation ; but as disuse apparently has affected 
the size of the feet, this case may come under the following 

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

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 un- 
fortunately (except in a few cases) not to the root of the tail ; J 

Chap. V 



measured each bird from the extreme tip to tip of wing ; and the 
length of the terminal folded part of the wing, from the extremity 
of the primaries to the joint of the radius. I measured the feet 
without the claws, from the end of the middle toe to the end of 
the hind toe; and the tarsus and middle toe together. I have 
taken in every case the mean measurement of two wild rock-pigeons 
from the Shetland Islands, as the standard of comparison. The 
following table shows the actual length of the feet in each bird ; 

Table. I. 

Pigeons with their beahs generally shorter than that of the Bock-pigeon, 

•proportionally to the size of their bodies. 

Name of Breed. 

Wild rock-pigeon (mean measurement') . . 

Short- faced Tumbler, bald head 

„ „ almond 

Tumbler, red magpie 

„ red common (by standard to end 
of tail) 

„ common bald-head 

„ roller 





Trumpeter, white 

„ mottled 

Fantail (by standard to end of tail) 

?> ?> )5 .... 

„ crested var. „ .... 

Indian Frill-back „ . . 

English Frill -back 







Swallow, red 

„ blue 


„ German 

Bussorah Carrier 

Number of specimens 













1 95 
















Difference between 
actual and calculated 

length of feet, in 

proportion to length ol 

feet and size of botlj 

in the Rock-pigeon. 

Too short 








Too long 







Chap. V. 

and the difference between the length which the feet ought to have 
had according to the size of body of each, in comparison with the 
size of body and length of feet of the rock-pigeon, calculated (with 
a few specified exceptions) by the standard of the length of the body 
from the base of the beak to the oil-gland. I have preferred this 
standard, owing to the variability of the length of tail. But I have 
made similar calculations', taking as the standard the length from 
tip to tip of wing, and likewise in most cases from the base of the 
beak to the end of the tail ; and the result has always been closely 
similar. To give an example : the first bird in the table, being 
a Short-faced Tumbler, is much smaller than the rock-pigeon, and 
would naturally have shorter feet ; but it is found on calculation to 
have feet too short by '11 of an inch, in comparison with the feet of 
the rock-pigeon, relatively to the size of the body in these two birds, 
as measured from the base of beak to the oil-gland. So again, when 
this same Tumbler and the rock-pigeon were compared by the length 
of their wings, or by the extreme length of their bodies, the feet of 
the Tumbler were likewise found to be too short in very nearly the 
same proportion. I am well aware that the measurements pretend 
to greater accuracy than is possible, but it was less trouble to write 
down the actual measurements given by the compasses in each case 
than an approximation. 

Table II. 

Pigeons with their beaks longer than that of the Rock-pigeon, 'proportionally 

to the size of their bodies. 

Name of Breed. 

Wild rock-pigeon (mean measurement) 




Difference between 
I actual and calculated 

length of feet, in 
proporiion to length of 
; feet and size of body 

in the Rock-pigeon. 

Too short 


Too long 




„ Dragon 

Bagadotten Carrier 
Scanderoon, white 

„ 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 columns we see by how much the feet are too shore 
or too long, according to the size of bird, in comparison with the 
rock-pigeon. In the first table twenty-two specimens have their 


feet too short, on an average by a little above the tenth of an inch 
(viz. '107) ; and five specimens have their feet on an average a very 
little too long, namely, by *07 of an inch. But some of these latter 
cases can be explained ; for instance, with Pouters the legs and feet 
are selected for length, and thus any natural tendency to a dimi- 
nution in the length of the feet will have been counteracted. In 
the Swallow and Barb, when the calculation was made on any 
standard of comparison besides the one used (viz. length of body 
from base of beak to oil-gland), the feet were found to be too small. 

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

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

38 In an analogous, but converse, allied groups, have larger feet. Sec 

manner, certain natural groups of Prince Bonaparte's ' Coup-d'ceil sur 

the Columbidae, from being more ter- l'Order des Pigeons.' 
restrial in their habits than other 



Chat. V 

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

Length of Sternum. 

Name of Breed. 


Wild Kock-pigeon 
Pied Scanderoon .. 
Bagadotten Carrier 



Short faced Tumbler 


Short by 

Name of Breed. 





German Pouter .. 


English Frill-back 



2 33 

Short by 


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

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

I have measured the length of the scapula in nine different large 


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

The arms of the furcula in all the specimens which I compared, 
diverged less, proportionally with the size of body, than in the rock- 
pigeon ; and the whole furculum was proportionally shorter. Thus 
in a Eunt, which measured from tip to tip of wings 38i inches, the 
furculum was only a very little longer (with the arms hardly more 
divergent) than in a rock-pigeon which measured from tip to tip 
26| inches. In a Barb, which in all its measurements was a little 
larger than the same rock-pigeon, the furculum was a quarter of an 
inch shorter. In a Pouter, the furculum had not been lengthened 
proportionally with the increased length of the body. In a Short- 
laced Tumbler, which measured from tip to tip of wings 24 inches, 
therefore only 2 1 inches less than the rock-pigeon, the furculum was 
barely two-thirds of the length of that of the rock-pigeon. 

We thus clearly see that the sternum, scapulae, and furculum 
are all reduced in proportional length ; but when we turn to 
the wings we find what at first appears a wholly different 
and unexpected result. I may here remark that I have not 
picked out specimens, but have used every measurement made 
by me. Taking the length from the base of beak to the end 
of the tail as the standard of comparison, I find that, out of 
thirty-five birds of various breeds, twenty-five have wings of 
greater, and ten have them of less proportional length, than 
in the rock-pigeon. But from the frequently correlated 
length of the tail and wing-feathers, it is better to take as 
the standard of comparison the length from the base of the 
beak to the oil-gland ; and by this standard, out of twenty- 
six of the same birds which had been thus measured, twenty- 
one had wings too long, and only five had them too short. 
In the twenty-one birds the wings exceeded in length those of 
the rock-pigeon, on an average, by 1| inch ; whilst in the five g 
birds they were less'in length by only -8 of an inch. As I was 
much surprised that the wings of closely confined birds should 
thus so frequently have been increased in length, it occurred 
to me that it might be solely due to the greater length of the 
wing-feathers ; for this certainly is the case with the Jacobin, 
which has wings of unusual length. As in almost every case 
I had measured the folded wings, I subtracted the length of 


this terminal part from that of the expanded wings, and thus 
I obtained, with a moderate degree of accuracy, the length of 
the wings from the ends of the two radii, answering from 
wrist to wrist in our arms. The wings, thus measured in 
the same twenty-five birds, now gave a widely different 
result ; for they were proportionally with those of the rock- 
pigeon too short in seventeen birds, and in only eight too 
long. Of these eight birds, five were long-beaked, 39 and this 
fact perhaps indicates that there is some correlation of the 
length of the beak with the length of the bones of the wings, 
in the same manner as with that of the feet and tarsi. The 
shortening of the humerus and radius in the seventeen birds 
may probably be attributed to disuse, as in the case of the 
scapulas and furculum to which the wing-bones are attached ; — 
the lengthening of the wing-feathers, and consequently the 
expansion of the wings from tip to tip, being, on the other 
hand, as completely independent of use and disuse as is the 
growth of the hair or wool on our long-haired dogs or long- 
woolled sheep. 

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

39 It perhaps deserves notice that would, therefore, appear as if, during 

besides these five birds two of the the reduction of their beaks, their 

eight were Barbs, which, as I have wings had retained a little of that 

shown, must be classed in the same excess of length which is characteris- 

group with the long-beaked Carriers tic of their nearest relations and pro- 

and Runts. Barbs may properly be genitors. 
called short beaked Carriers. It 


have also some faint indication of a similar correlation "between 
the main bones of the wing and the beak. 

Summary on the Points of Difference between the several Domestic 
Haces, and between the individual Birds. — The beak, together 
with the bones of the face, differ remarkably in length, 
breadth, shape, and curvature. The skull differs in shape, 
and greatly in the angle formed by the union of the pre- 
maxillary, nasal, and maxillo-jugal bones. The curvature of 
the lower jaw and the reflection of its upper margin, as well 
as the gape of the mouth, differ in a highly remarkable 
manner. The tongue varies much in length, both in- 
dependently and in correlation with the length of the beak. 
The development of the naked, wattled skin over the nostrils 
and round the eyes varies in an extreme degree. The eyelids 
and the external orifices of the nostrils vary in length, and 
are to a certain extent correlated with the degree of develop 
ment of the wattle. The size and form of the oesophagus 
and crop, and their capacity for inflation, differ immensely. 
The length of the neck varies. With the varying shape of 
the body, the breadth and number of the ribs, the presence of 
processes, the number of the sacral vertebra, and the length 
of the sternum, all vary. The number and size of the 
coccygeal vertebras vary, apparently in correlation with the 
increased size of the tail. The size and shape of the perfora- 
tions in the sternum, and the size and divergence of the arms 
of the furculum, differ. The oil-gland varies in development, 
and is sometimes quite aborted. The direction and length of 
certain feathers have been much modified, as in the hood of 
the Jacobin and the frill of the Turbit. The wing and tail- 
feathers generally vary in length together, but sometimes 
independently of each other and of the size of the body. The 
number and position of the tail-feather vary to an unparalleled 
degree. The primary and secondary wing- feathers occasion- 
ally vary in number, apparently in correlation with the 
length of the wing. The length of the leg and the size of 
the feet, and, in connection with the latter, the number of 
the scutellae, 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 Bunt has been known 


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

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

40 Temminck, ' Hist. Nat. Gen. des between the males and females, as are 
Pigeons et des Gallinaces,' torn, i., not directly connected with the act of 
1813, p. 170. reproduction, as the tail of the pea- 

41 This term was used by John cock, the borns of deer, &c. 
Hunter for such differences in structure 



pigeons — continued. 



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

Temminck l has well observed, and Mr. Gould has made 
the same remark to me, that the aboriginal parent must have 
been a species which roosted and built its nest on rocks ; and 
I may add that it must have been a social bird. For all the 
domestic races are highly social, and none are known to build 
or habitually to roost on trees. The awkward manner in 
which some pigeons, kept by me in a summer-house near an 
old walnut-tree, occasionally alighted on the barer branches, 

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



Chap. VI 

was evident. 2 Nevertheless, Mr. E. Scot Skirving informs 
me that he often saw crowds of pigeons in Upper Egypt 
settling on low trees, but not on palms, in preference to 
alighting on the mud hovels of the natives. In India Mr. 
Blyth 3 has been assured that the wild C. livia, var. intermedia, 
sometimes roosts in trees. I may here give a curious instance 
of compulsion leading to changed habits : the banks of the 
Nile above lat. 28° 30' are perpendicular for a long distance, 
so that when the river is full the pigeons cannot alight on 
the shore to drink, and Mr. Skirving repeatedly saw whole 
flocks settle on the water, and drink whilst they floated down 
the stream. These flocks seen from a distance resembled 
flocks of gulls on the surface of the sea. 

If any domestic race had descended from a species which 
was not social, or which built its nest and roosted in trees, 4 
the sharp eyes of fanciers would assuredly have detected some 
vestige of so different an aboriginal habit. For we have 
reason to believe that aboriginal habits are long retained 
under domestication. Thus with the common ass we see 
signs of its original desert life in its strong dislike to cross 
the smallest stream of water, and in its pleasure in rolling in 
the dust. The same strong dislike to cross a stream is 
common to the camel, which has been domesticated from a 
very ancient period. Young pigs, though so tame, sometimes 
squat when frightened, and thus try to conceal themselves 
even on an ojjen and bare place. Young turkeys, and occa- 
sionally even young fowls, when the hen gives the danger- 
cry, run away and try to hide themselves, like young par- 
tridges or pheasants, in order that their mother may take 

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

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

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


flight, of which she has lost the power. The musk-duck 
(Cairina moschata) in its native country often perches and 
roosts on trees, 5 and our domesticated musk-ducks, though 
such sluggish birds, " are fond of perching on the tops of 
barns, walls, &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." G We know that the dog, however well and regularly 
fed, often buries, like the fox, any superfluous food ; and we 
see him turning round and round on a carpet, as if to trample 
down grass to form a bed ; we see him on bare pavements 
scratching backwards as if to throw earth over his excrement, 
although, as I believe, this is never effected even where there 
is earth. In the delight with which lambs and kids crowd 
together and frisk on the smallest hillock, we see a vestige of 
their former alpine habits. 

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

Firstly, the Columha huconota resembles certain domestic varieties 
in its plumage, with the one marked and never-failing difference of 
a white band which crosses the tail at some distance from the 
extremity. This species, moreover, inhabits the Himalaya, close to 
the limit of perpetual snow; and therefore, as Mr. Blyth has re- 
marked, is not likely to have been the parent of our domestic 
breeds, which thrive in the hottest countries. Secondly, the C. 
rupestris, of Central Asia, which is intermediate 7 between the O. 
huconota and lima ; but has nearly the same coloured tail as the 
former species. Thirdly, the Columha liftoralis builds and roosts, 
according to Temminck, on rocks in the Malayan archipelago ; it is 
white, excepting parts of the wing and the tip of the tail, which are 
black ; its legs are livid-coloured, and this is a character not 
observed in any adult domestic pigeon ; but 1 need not have 
mentioned this species or the closely-allied C. luctuosa, as they m 

5 Sir R. Schomburgk, in ' Journal 6 Rev. E. S. Dixon, ' Ornamental 

R. Geograph. Soe.,' vol. xiii., 1844, Poultry,' 1848, pp. 63, 66 
p. 32. * 7 Proc Zoolog. Soc, 1859, p. 400. 


fact belong to the genus Carpophaga. Fourthly, Columba guinea, 
which ranges from Guinea 8 to the Cape of Good Hope, and roosts 
either on trees or rocks, according to the nature of the country. 
This species belongs to the genus Strictcenas of Keichenbach, but 
is closely allied to Columba; it is to some extent coloured like 
certain domestic races, and has been said to be domesticated in 
Abyssinia ; but Mr Mansfield Parkyns, who collected the birds of 
that country and knows the species, informs me that this is a 
mistake. Moreover, the C. guinea is characterized by the feathers 
of the neck having peculiar notched tips, — a character not observed 
in any domestic race. Fifthly, the Columba cenas of Europe, which 
roosts on trees, and builds its nest in holes, either in trees or the 
ground ; this species, as far as external characters go, might be the 
parent of several domestic races ; but, though it crosses readily 
with the true rock-pigeon, the offspring, as we shall presently see, 
are sterile hybrids, and of such sterility there is not a trace when 
the domestic races are intercrossed. It should also be observed 
that if we were to admit, against all probability, that any of the 
foregoing five or six species were the parents of some of our 
domestic pigeons, not the least light would be thrown on the 
chief differences between the eleven most strongly-marked races. 

We now come to the best known rock-pigeon, the Columba livia, 
which is often designated in Europe pre-eminently as the Bock- 
pigeon, and which naturalists believe to be the parent of all the 
domesticated breeds. This bird agrees in every essential character 
with the breeds which have been only slightly modified. It differs 
from all other species in being of a slaty-blue colour, with two black 
bars on the wings, and with the croup (or loins) white. Occasionally 
birds are seen in Faroe and the Hebrides with the black bars 
replaced by two or three black spots ; this form has been named by 
Brehm 9 C. amulice, but this species has not been admitted as distinct 
by other ornithologists. Graba 10 even found a difference in the bars 
on the right and left wings of the same bird in Faroe. Another and 
rather more distinct form is either truly wild or has become feral 
on the cliffs of England and was doubtfully named by Mr. Bly th ll 
as C. affinis, but is now no longer considered by him as a distinct 
species. C. ojjinis 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 

8 Temminck, ' Hist. Nat. Gen. des by Mr. Gosse that this is an error. 

Pigeons,' torn. i. ; also ' Les Pigeons, 9 ' Handbuch der Naturgesch. 

par Mme. Knip and Temminck. Bona- Vogel Deutschlands.' 

parte, however, in his ' Coup-d'ceil,' 10 ' Tagebuch, Reise nach Faro,' 

believes that two closely allied species 1830, s. 62. 

are confounded together under this ll 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.' 
name. The C. leucocephala of the vol. xix. 1847, p. 102. This excellent 
West Indies is stated by Temminck to paper on pigeons is well worth con- 
be a rock-pigeon ; but I am informed suiting. 


spot on the two sides, but chiefly on the outer side, of each feather. 
The wing-bars in the true rock-pigeon and in the chequered 
variety are, in fact, due to similar though larger spots symmetrically 
crossing the secondary wing-feather and the larger coverts. Hence 
the chequering arises merely from an extension of these marks to 
other parts of the plumage. Chequered birds are not confined to 
the coasts of England ; for they were found by Graba at Faroe ; and 
W. Thompson 12 says that at Islay fully half the wild rock-pigeons 
were chequered. Colonel King, of Hythe, stocked his dovecot with 
young wild birds which he himself procured from nests at the 
Orkney Islands ; and several specimens, kindly sent to me by him, 
were all plainly chequered. As we thus see that chequered birds 
occur mingled with the true rock-pigeon at three distinct sites, 
namely, Faroe, the Orkney Islands, and Islay, no importance can 
be attached to this natural variation in the plumage. 

Prince C. L. Bonaparte, 13 a great divider of species, enumerates, 
with a mark of interrogation, as distinct from ft livla, the O. turrico a 
of Italy, the ft rupestris of Daouria, and the ft. schimperi of Abys- 
sinia ; but these birds differ from ft. livla in characters of the most 
trifling value. In the British Museum there is a chequered pigeon, 
probably the ft. schimperi of Bonaparte, from Abyssinia. To these 
may be added the ft gymnocyclus of G. E. 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 

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

In Madeira there is a rock-pigeon which a few ornithologists have 
suspected to be distinct from ft. livia. I have examined numerous 
specimens collected by Mr. E. V. Harcourt and Mr. Mason. They 
are rather smaller than the rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands, 
and their beaks are plainly thinner, but the thickness of the beak 
varied in the several specimens. In plumage there is remarkable 

12 'Natural History of Ireland,' geons,' * Comptes Rendus,' 1854— 55. 
Birds, vol. ii. (1850), p. 11. For 14 ' Naturgeschichte. DeutschlaacU, 

Graba, see previous reference. Band iv. 1795, s. 14. 

1J 'Coup-d'ceil sur l'Ordre des Pi- 


DOMESTIC pigeons: 

Ciiap. VI. 

diversity; some specimens are identical in every feather (I speak 
after actual comparison) with the rock-pigeon of the Shetland 
Islands ; others are chequered, like 0. affinis from the cliffs of 
England, but generally to a greater degree, being almost black over 
the whole back ; others are identical with the so-called C. intermedia 
of India in the degree of blueness of the croup ; whilst others have 
this part very pale or very dark blue, and are likewise chequered. 
So much variability raises a strong suspicion that these birds are 
domestic pigeons which have become feral. 

From these facts it can hardly be doubted that C. livia, affinis, 
■intermedia, and the forms marked with an interrogation by Bonaparte 
ought all to be included under a single species. But it is quite 
immaterial whether or not they are thus ranked, and whether some 
one of these forms or all are the progenitors of the various domestic 
kinds, as far as any light can thus be thrown on the differences 
between the more strongly-marked races. That common dovecot- 
pigeons, which are kept in various parts of the world, are descended 
from one or from several of the above-mentioned wild varieties of 
C. livia, no one who compares them will doubt. But before making 
a few remarks on dovecot-pigeons, it should be stated that the wild 
rock-pigeon has been found easy to tame in several countries. We 
have seen that Colonel King at Hythe stocked his dovecot more 
than twenty years ago with young wild birds taken at the Orkney 
Islands, and since then they have greatly multiplied. The accurate 
Macgillivray 15 asserts that he completely tamed a wild rock-pigeon 
in the Hebrides ; and several accounts are on records of these pigeons 
having bred in dovecots in the Shetland Islands. In India, as 
Captain Hutton informs me, the wild rock-pigeon is easily tamed, 
and breeds readily with the domestic kind ; and Mr. Blyth 1G asserts 
that wild birds come frequently to the dovecots and mingle freely 
with their inhabitants. In the ancient f Ayeen Akbery ' it is written 
that, if a few wild pigeons be taken, " they are speedily joined by a 
thousand others of their kind." 

Dovecot-pigeons are those which are kept in dovecots in a semi- 
domesticated state ; for no special care is taken of them, and they 
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 

15 ' History of British Birds,' vol. i. 
pp. 275-284. Mr. Andrew Duncan 
tamed a rock-pigeon in the Shetland 
Islands. Mr. James Barclay, and Mr. 
Smith of Uyea Sound, both say that 
the wild rock-pigeon can be easily 
tamed ; and the former gentleman 
asserts that the tamed birds breed 
four times a year. Dr. Lawrence 
Edmondstone informs me that a wild 

rock-pigeon came and settled in his 
dovecot in Balta Sound in the Shet- 
land Islands, and bred with his 
pigeons ; he has also given me other 
instances of the wild rock-pigeon 
having been taken young and breed- 
ing in captivity. 

16 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. 
History,' vol. xix. 1847, p. 103, and 
vol. for 1857, p. 512. 


variety of 0. livia ; but I have seen dovecots brought from Yorkshire 
without any trace of chequering, like the wild rock-pigeon of the 
Shetland Islands. The chequered dovecots from the Orkney Islands, 
after having been domesticated by Colonel King for more than 
twenty years, differed slightly from each other in the darkness of 
their plumage and in the thickness of their beaks ; the thinnest beak 
being rather thicker than the thickest one in the Madeira birds. In 
Germany, according toBechstein, 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. Blyttt, 
becomes nearly white. I have received from Sir. J. Brooke some 
dovecot-pigeons, which originally came from the S. Natunas Islands 
in the Malay Archipelago, and which had been crossed with the 
Singapore dovecots : they were small and the darkest variety was 
extremely like the dark chequered variety with a blue croup from 
Madeira ; but the beak was not so thin, though decidedly thinner 
than in the rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands. A dovecot- 
pigeon sent to me by Mr. Swinhoe from Foochow, in China, was 
likewise rather small, but differed in no other respect. I have 
also received through the kindness of Dr. Daniell, four living dovecot- 
pigeons from Sierra Leone, 17 these were fully as large as the 
Shetland rock-pigeon, with even bulkier bodies. In plumage some 
of them were identical with the Shetland rock pigeon, but with the 
metallic tints apparently rather more brilliant ; others had a blue 
croup, and resembled the chequered variety of C. intermedia of 
India; and some were so much chequered as to be nearly black. 
]n these four birds the beak differed slightly in length, but in all it 
was decidedly shorter, more massive, and stronger than in the wild 
rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands, or in the English dovecot. 
"When the beaks of these African pigeons were compared with the 
thinnest beaks of the wild Madeira specimens, the contrast was great ; 
the former being fully one-third thicker in a vertical direction 
than the latter ; so that any one at first would have felt inclined to 
rank these birds as specifically distinct ; yet so perfectly graduated a 
series could be formed between the above-mentioned varieties, that 
it was obviously impossible to separate them. 

To sum up : the wild Columba livia, including under this 
name C. affinis, intermedia, and the other still more closely- 
affined geographical races, has a vast range from the southern 
coast of Norway and the Faroe Islands to the shores of the 
Mediterranean, to Madeira and the Canary Islands, to Abys- 
sinia, India, and Japan. It varies greatly in plumage, being 

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

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

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


in many places chequered with Hack, and having either a 
white or blue croup or loins ; it varies also slightly in the 
size of the beak and body. Dovecot-pigeons, which no one 
disputes are descended from one or more of the above wild 
forms, present a similar but greater range of variation in 
plumage, in the size of body, and in the length and thickness 
of the beak. There seems to be some relation between the 
croup being blue or white, and the temperature of tho 
country inhabited by both wild and dovecot pigeons ; for 
nearly all the dovecot-pigeons in the northern parts of Europe 
have a white croup, like that of the wild European rock- 
pigeon ; and nearly all the dovecot-pigeons of India have a 
blue croup like that of the wild C. intermedia of India. As in 
various countries the wild rock-pigeon has been found easy to 
tame, it seems extremely probable that the dovecot-pigeons 
throughout the world are the descendants of at least two and 
perhaps more wild stocks ; but these, as we have just seen, 
cannot be ranked as specifically distinct. 

With respect to the variation of C. livia, we may without 
fear of contradiction go one step further. Those pigeon- 
fanciers who believe that all the chief races, such as Carriers, 
Pouters, Fantails, &c, are descended from distinct aboriginal 
stocks, yet admit that the so-called toy-pigeons, which differ 
fiom the rock-pigeon in little except colour, are descended 
from this bird. By toy-pigeons are meant such birds as Spots, 
Nuns, Helmets, Swallows, Priests, Monks, Porcelains, Swa- 
bians, Archangels, Breasts, Shields, and others in Europe, and 
many others in India. It would indeed be as puerile to 
suppose that all these birds are descended from so many 
distinct wild stocks as to suppose this to be the case with the 
many varieties of the gooseberry, heartsease, or dahlia. Yet 
these kinds all breed true, and many of them include sub- 
varieties which likewise transmit their character truly. 
They differ greatly from each other and from the rock-pigeon 
in plumage, slightly in size and proportions of body, in size 
of feet, and in the length and thickness of their beaks. They 
differ from each other in these respects more than do dove- 
cot-pigeons. Although we may safely admit that dovecot- 
pigeons, which vary slightly, and that toy-pigeons, which 


vary in a greater degree in accordance with their more highly- 
domesticated condition, are descended from C. livia, including 
under this name the above - enumerated wild geographical 
races ; yet the question becomes far more difficult when we 
consider the eleven principal races, most of which have been 
profoundly modified. It can, however, be shown, by indirect 
evidence of a perfectly conclusive nature, that these principal 
races are not descended from so many wild stocks ; and if this 
be once admitted, few will dispute that they are the descen- 
dants of C. livia, which agrees with them so closely in habits 
and in most characters, which varies in a state of nature, and 
which has certainly undergone a considerable amount of 
variation, as in the toy-pigeons. We shall moreover presently 
see how eminently favourable circumstances have been for a 
great amount of modification in the more carefully tended 

The reasons for concluding that the several principal races 
are not descended from so many aboriginal and unknown 
Blocks may be grouped under the following six heads : — Firstly, 
if the eleven chief races have not arisen from the variation of 
some one species, together with its geographical races, they 
must be descended from several extremely distinct aboriginal 
species ; for no amount of crossing between only six or seven 
wild forms could produce races so distinct as Pouters, Carriers, 
Eunts, Fantails, Turbits, Short-faced Tumblers, Jacobins, and 
Trumpeters. How could crossing produce, for instance, a 
Pouter or a Fantail, unless the two supposed aboriginal 
parents possessed the remarkable characters of these breeds ? 
I am aware that some naturalists, following Pallas, believe 
that crossing gives a strong tendency to variation, indepen- 
dently of the characters inherited from either parent. '1 hey 
believe that it would be easier to raise a Pouter or Fantail 
pigeon from crossing two distinct species, neither of which 
possessed the characters of these races, than from any single 
species. I can find few facts in support of this doctrine, and 
believe in it only to a limited degree ; but in a future chapter 
I shall have to recur to this subject. For our present purpose 
the point is not material. The question which concerns us is, 
whether or not many new and important characters have 


a.risen since man first domesticated the pigeon. On the 
ordinary view, variability is due to changed conditions of life ; 
on the Pallasian doctrine, variability, or the appearance of 
new characters, is due to some n^sterious effect from the cross- 
ing of two species, neither of which possesses the characters 
in question. In some few instances it is possible that well- 
marked races may have been formed by crossing ; for instance, 
a Barb might perhaps be formed by a cross between a long- 
beaked Carrier, having large eye-wattles, and some short- 
beaked pigeon. That many races have been in some degree 
modified by crossing, and that certain varieties which are 
distinguished only by peculiar tints have arisen from crosses 
between differently-coloured varieties, is almost certain. On 
the doctrine, therefore, that the chief races owe their differ- 
ences to their descent from distinct species, we must admit 
that at least eight or nine, or more probably a dozen species, 
all having the same habit of breeding and roosting on rocks 
and living in society, either now exist somewhere, or formerly 
existed, but have become extinct as wild birds. Considering 
how carefully wild pigeons have been collected throughout 
the world, and what conspicuous birds they are, especially 
when frequenting rocks, it is extremely improbable that 
eight or nine species, which were long ago domesticated and 
therefore must have inhabited some anciently known country, 
should still exist in the wild state and be unknown to orni- 

The hypothesis that such species formerly existed, but have 
become extinct, is in some slight degree more probable. But 
the extinction of so many species within the historical period is 
a bold hypothesis, seeing how little influence man has had in 
exterminating the common rock-pigeon, which agrees in all its 
habits of life with the domestic races. The C. livia now exists 
and flourishes on the small northern islands of Faroe, on many 
islands off the coast of Scotland, on Sardinia, and the shores of 
the Mediterranean, and in the centre of India. Fanciers have 
sometimes imagined that the several supposed parent -species 
were originally confined to small islands, and thus might 
readily have been exterminated ; but the facts just given do not 
favour the probability of their extinction, even on small islands 


Nor is it probable, from what is known of the distribution of 
birds, that the islands near Europe should have been inhabited 
by peculiar species of pigeons ; and if we assume that distant 
oceanic islands were the homes of the supposed parent-species, 
we must remember that ancient voyages were tediously slow, 
and that ships were then ill-provided with fresh food, so that 
it would not have been easy to bring home living birds. 
I have said ancient voyages, for nearly all the races of the 
pigeon were known before the year 1600, so that the supposed 
wild species must have been captured and domesticated before 
that date. 

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

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 quad- 
rupeds. Nevertheless I have met with accounts showing that 
the common fowl has become feral in South America and 
perhaps in West Africa, and on several islands : the turkey 
was at one time almost feral on the banks of the Parana ; and 
the Guinea-fowl has become perfectly wild at Ascension 
and in Jamaica. In this latter island the peacock, also, 
"has become a maroon bird." The common duck wanders 
from its home and becomes almost wild in Norfolk. Hybrids 
between the common and musk-duck which have become wild 
have been shot in North America, Belgium, and near the 
Caspian Sea. The goose is said to have run wild in La Plata. 
The common dovecot - pigeon has become wild at Juan 



Chap. VI. 

Fernandez, Norfolk Island, Ascension, probably at Madeira, on 
the shores of Scotland, and, as is asserted, on the banks of the 
Hudson in North America. 18 But how different is the case, 
when we turn to the eleven chief domestic races of the pigeon, 
which are supposed by some authors to be descended from so 
many distinct species ! no one has ever pretended that any 
one of these races has been found wild in any quarter of the 
world ; yet they have been transported to all countries, and 
some of them must have been carried back to their native 
homes. On the view that all the races are the product of 
variation, we can understand why they have not become feral, 
for the great amount of modification which they have under- 
gone shows how long and how thoroughly they have been 
domesticated ; and this would unfit them for a wild life. 

Fourthly. — If it be assumed that the characteristic differences 
between the various domestic races are due to descent from 
several aboriginal species, we must conclude that man chose 
for domestication in ancient times, either intentionally or by 
chance, a most abnormal set of pigeons . f or that species 
resembling such birds as Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, Barbs, 
Short-faced Tumblers, Turbits, &c, would be in the highest 
degree abnormal, as compared with all the existing members 
of the great pigeon family, cannot be doubted. Thus we 
should have to believe that man not only formerly succeeded 
in thoroughly domesticating several highly abnormal species, 
but that these same species have since all become extinct, or 

18 With respect to feral pigeons 
— for Juan Fernandez, see Bertero in 
' Annal. des Sc. Nat.,' torn. xxi. p. 351. 
For Norfolk Islands, see Rev. E. S. 
Dixon in the ' Dovecote,' 1851, p. 14, 
on the authority of Mr. Gould. For 
Ascension I rely on MS. information 
given me by Mr. Layard. For the 
banks of the Hudson, see Blyth in 
'Annals of Nat. Hist.,' vol. xx., 1857, 
p. 511. For Scotland, set' Macgillivray, 
' British Birds,' vol. i. p. 275 ; also 
Thompson's ' Nat. Hist, of Ireland, 
Birds,' vol. ii. p. 11. For ducks, see 
Rev. E. S. Dixon, ' Ornamental 
Poultry,' 1847, p. 122. For the feral 
hybrids of the common and musk- 

ducks, see Audubon's ' American Or- 
nithology,' and Selys-Longchamp's 
' Hybrides dans la Famille des Ana- 
tides.' For the goose, Isidore Geoffroy 
St.-Hilaire, ' Hist. Nat. Gen.,' torn. iii. 
p. 498. For guinea-fowls, see Gosse's 
' Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica," 
p. 124 ; and his ' Birds of Jamaica,' 
for fuller particulars. I saw the 
wild guinea-fowl in Ascension. For 
the peacock, see ' A Week at Port 
Royal,' by a competent authority, 
Mr. R. Hill, p. 42. For the turkey 
I rely on oral information ; I ascer- 
tained that they were not Curassows. 
With respect to fowls I will give th«* 
references in the next chapter. 

Chap. VI. 



are at least now unknown. This double accident is so ex- 
tremely improbable that the assumed existence of so many 
abnormal species would require to be supported by the 
strongest evidence. On the other hand, if all the races are 
descended from C. livia, we can understand, as will hereafter 
be more fully explained, how any slight deviation in structure 
which first appeared would continually be augmented by the 
preservation of the most strongly marked individuals ; and as 
the power of selection would be applied according to man's 
fancy, and not for the bird's own good, the accumulated 
amount of deviation would certainly be of an abnormal 
nature in comparison with the structure of pigeons living in 
a state of nature. 

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

Fifthly. — All the domestic races pair readily together, and, 
what is equally important, their mongrel offspring are per- 
fectly fertile. To ascertain this fact I made many experi- 
ments, which are given in the note below; and recently 
Mr. Tegetmeier has made similar experiments with the same 
result. 19 The accurate Keumeister asserts that when dovecots 

19 I have drawn out a Ion? table of 
the various crosses made by fanciers 
between the several domestic breeds 
but I do not think it worth while 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- 


doubtedlv have thus united all. The 
case of five distinct breeds being 
blended together with unimpaired fer- 
tility is important, because Gartner 
has shown that it is a very general, 
though not, as he thought, universal 
rule, that complex crosses between 
several species are excessively sterile. 
I have met with only two or three 



Chap. VI. 

are crossed with pigeons of any other breed, the mongrels are 
extremely fertile and hardy. 20 MM. Boitard and Corbie 21 affirm, 
after their great experience, that the more distinct the breeds 
are which are crossed, the more productive are their mongrel 
offspring. I admit that the doctrine first broached by Pallas 
is highly probable, if not actually proved, namely, that closely 
allied species, which in a state of nature or when first captured 
would have been in some degree sterile if crossed, lose this 
sterility after a long course of domestication ; yet when we 
consider the great difference between such races as Pouters, 
Carriers, Runts, Fantails, Turbits, Tumblers, &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 22 all the cases which I have collected) that 

cases of reported sterility in the off- 
spring of certain races when crossed. 
Pistor (' Das Ganze der Feldtau- 
benzucht,' 1831, s. 15) asserts that the 
mongrels from Barbs and Fantails 
are sterile : I have proved this to be 
erroneous, not only by crossing those 
hybrids with several other hybrids of 
the same parentage, but by the more 
severe test of pairing brother and 
sister hybrids inter se, and they were 
perfectly fertile. Temminck has stated 
(' Hht. Nat. Ge'n. 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. 34), who says the hybrids were 
vory fertile. Hybrids from a Turbit 
and Fantail have been known to breed 
inter se (Riedel, ' Taubenzucht,' s. 25, 
and Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutsch.' 
B. iv. s. 44. Turbits (Riedel, s. 26) 
have been crossed with Pouters and 
with Jacobins, and with a hybrid 

Jacobin-trumpeter (Riedel, s. 27)* 
The latter author has, however, made 
some vague statements (s. 22) on the 
sterility of Turbits when crossed with 
certain other crossed breeds. But I 
have little doubt that the Rev. E. S. 
Dixon's explanation of such statements 
is correct, viz. that individual birds 
both with Turbits and other breeds are 
occasionally sterile. 

20 ' Das Ganze der Taubenzucht,' 
s. 18. 

21 ' Les Pigeons,' &c, p. 35. 

22 Domestic pigeons pair readily 
with the allied C. cenas (Bechstein, 
' Naturgesch. Deutschlands,' B. iv. s. 
3) ; and Mr. Brent has made the same 
cross several times in England, but the 
young were very apt to die at about 
ten days old ; one hybrid which he 
reared (from C. cenas and a male Ant- 
werp Carrier) paired with a Dragon, 
but never laid eggs. Bechstein fur- 
ther states (s. 26) that the domestic 
pigeon will cross with C. palumbus, 
Turtur risoria and T. vulgaris, but 
nothing is said of the fertility of the 
hybrids, and this would have been 
mentioned had the fact been ascer- 
tained. In the Zoological Gardens 

Chap. VI. 



hardly a single well-ascertained instance is known of hybrids 
between two true species of pigeons being fertile, inter se, or 
even when crossed with one of their pure parents. 

Sixthly. — Excluding certain important characteristic differ- 
ences, the chief races agree most closely both with each other 
and with C. livia in all other respects. As previously observed, 
all are eminently sociable ; all dislike to perch or roost, and 
refuse to build in trees ; all lay two eggs, and this is not a 
universal rule with the 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 court- 
ing the females ; and all (with the exception of Trumpeters 

(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. 
cenas and gymnophthalmos were sterile. 
In Loudon's ' Mag. of Nat. Hist.' vol. 
vii. 1834, p. 154, it is said that a male 
hybrid (from Turtur vulgaris male, 
and the cream-coloured T. risoria 
female) paired during two years with 
a female T. risoria, and the latter laid 
many eggs, but all were sterile. 
MM. Boitard and Corbie'C Les Pigeons,' 
p. 235) state that the hybrids from 
these two turtle-doves are invariably 
sterile both inter se and with either 
pure parent. The experiment was 
tried by M. Corbie " avec une espeee 
d'obstination ;" and likewise by M. 
Mauduyt, and by M. Vieillot. Tem- 
minck also found the hybrids from 
these two species quite barren. There- 
fore, when Bechstein (' Naturgesch. 
Deutschlands Vogel,' B. 4, s. 101) 
asserts that the hybrids from these 
two turtle-doves propagate inter se 
equally well with pure species, and 
when a writer in the ' Field ' news- 
paper (in a letter dated Nov. 10th, 
1853) makes a similar assertion, it 

would appear that there must be some 
mistake ; though what the mistake is 
I know not, as Bechstein at least must 
have known the white variety of T. 
risoria : it would be an unparalleled 
fact if the same two species sometimes 
produced extremely fertile, and some- 
times extremely barren, offspring. In 
the MS. report from the Zoological 
Gardens it is said that hybrids from 
Turtur vulgaris and suraiensis, and 
from T. vulgaris and Ectopistcs migra* 
torius, were sterile. Two of the latter 
male hybrids paired with their pure 
parents, viz. Turtur vulgaris and the 
Lctopistes, and likewise with T. risoria 
and with Columba cenas, and many 
eggs were produced, but all were 
barren. At Paris, hybrids have been 
raised (Isid. Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, 
' Hist. Nat. Geherale,' torn. iii. p. 180) 
from Turtur auritus with T. cam- 
bayensis and with T. suratensis ; but 
nothing is said of their fertility. At 
the Zoological Gardens of London the 
Goura coronata and victoria produced 
a hybrid which paired with the pure 
G. coronata, and laid several eggs, but 
these proved barren. In 1860 Columba 
gymnophthalmos and maculosa pro- 
duced hybrids in these same gardens, 


and Laughers, which likewise do not differ much in any other 
character) coo in the same peculiar manner, unlike the voice 
of any other wild pigeon. All the coloured breeds display 
the same peculiar metallic tints on the breast, a character far 
from general with pigeons. Each race presents nearly the 
same range of variation in colour ; and in most of the races 
we have the same singular correlation between the develop- 
ment 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 Columbidae. 
In those races which present some remarkable deviation of 
structure, such as in the tail of Fantails, crop of Pouters, beak 
of Carriers and Tumblers, &c, the other parts remain nearly 
unaltered. Now every naturalist will admit that it would be 
scarcely possible to pick out a dozen natural species in any 
family which should agree closely in habits and in general 
structure, and yet should differ greatly in a few characters 
alone. This fact is explicable through the doctrine of natural 
selection ; for each successive modification of structure in each 
natural species is preserved, solely because it is of service ; 
and such modifications when largely accumulated imply a 
great change in the habits of life, and this will almost cer- 
tainly lead to other changes of structure throughout the whole 
organization. On the other hand, if the several races of the 
pigeon have been produced by man through selection and 
variation, we can readily understand how it is that they 
should still all resemble each other in habits and in those 
many characters which man has not cared to modify, whilst 
they differ to so prodigious a degree in those parts which 
have struck his eye or pleased his fancy. 

Besides the points above enumerated, in which all the 
domestic races resemble C. 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 bars ; the 
croup varies in colour, being generally white in the pigeon 
of Europe, and blue in that of India ; the tail has a black bar 
close to the end, and the outer webs of the outer tail-feathers 
are edged with white, except near the tips. These combined 

Chap. VI. 



characters are not found in any wild pigeon besides C. livia. 
I have looked carefully through the great collections of 
pigeons in the British Museum, and I find that a dark bar at 
the end of the tail is common ; that the white edging to the 
outer tail-feathers is not rare ; but that the white croup is 
extremely rare, and the two black bars on the wings occur in 
no other pigeon, excepting the alpine C. leiiconota and C. 
rupestris of Asia. Now if we turn to the domestic races, it is 
highly remarkable, as an eminent fancier, Mr. Wicking, 
observed to me, that, whenever a blue bird appears in any 
race, the wings almost invariably show the double black bars. 23 
The primary wing-feathers may be white or black, and the 
whole body may be of any colour, but if the wing-coverts are 
blue, the two black bars are sure to appear. I have myself 
seen, or acquired trustworthy evidence, as given below, 24 of 

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

24 I have observed blue birds with 
all the above-mentioned marks in the 
following races, which seemed to be 
perfectly pure, and were shown at 
various exhibitions. Pouters, with 
the double black wing-bars, with 
white croup, dark bar to end of tail, 
and white edging to outer tail -feathers. 
Turbits,with all these same characters. 
Fantails with the same ; but the croup 
in some was bluish or pure blue. Mr. 
Wicking bred blue Fantails from two 
black birds. Carriers (including the 
Bagadotten of Neumeister) with all 
the marks : two birds which I ex- 
amined had white, and two had blue 

croups ; the white edging to the outer 
tail-feathers was not present in all. 
Mr. Corker, a great breeder, assures 
me that, if black carriers are matched 
for many successive generations, the 
offspring become first ash-coloured, 
and then blue with black wing-bars. 
Runts of the elongated breed had the 
same marks, but the croup was pale 
blue ; the outer tail-feathers had 
white edges. Neumeister figures the 
great Florence Runt of a blue colour 
with black bars. Jacobins are very 
rarely blue, but I have received au- 
thentic accounts of at least two in- 
stances of the blue variety with black 
bars having appeared in England ; 
blue Jacobins were bred by Mr. Brent 
from two black birds. I have seen 
common Tumblers, both Indian and 
English, and Short-facod Tumblers, of 
a blue colour, with black wing-bars, 
with the black bar at the end of the 
tail, and with the outer tail-feathers 
edged with white ; the croup in all 
was blue, or extremely pale blue, 
never absolutely white. Blue Barbs 
and Trumpeters seem to be excessively 
rare ; but Neumeister, who may be 
implicitly trusted, figures blue varie- 
ties of both, with black wing-bars. Mr. 
Brent informs me that he has seen a 



Chap. "VI. 

blue birds with black bars on the wing, with the croup 
either white or very pale or dark blue, with the tail having 
a terminal black bar, and with the outer feathers externally 
edged with white or very pale coloured, in the following races, 
which, as I carefully observed in each case, appeared to be 
perfectly true : namely, in Pouters, Eantails, Tumblers, 
Jacobins, Turbits, Barbs, Carriers, Runts of three distinct 
varieties, Trumpeters, Swallows, and in many other toy- 
pigeons, which as being closely allied to C. livia, are not 
worth enumerating. Thus we see that, in purely -bred races 
of every kind known in Europe, blue birds occasionally appear 
having all the marks which characterise C. livia, and which 
concur in no other wild species. Mr. Blyth, also, has made 
the same observation with respect to the various domestic 
races known in India. 

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

The facts hitherto given refer to the occasional appearance 
in pure races of blue birds with black wing-bars, and likewise 

blue Barb ; and Mr. H. Weir, as I am 
informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, once 
bred a silver (which means very pale 
blue) Barb from two yellow birds. 

25 Mr. Blyth informs me that all 
the domestic races in India have the 
croup blue ; but this is not invariable, 
for I possess a very pale blue Simmali 
pigeon with the croup perfectly white, 
sent to me by Sir W. Elliot from 

Madras. A slaty-blue and chequered 
Nakshi pigeon has some white feathers 
on the croup alone. In some other 
Indian pigeons there were a few white 
feathers confined to the croup, and I 
have noticed the ssme fact in a carrier 
from Persia. The Java Fantail (im- 
ported into Amoy, and thence sent 
me) has a perfectly white croup. 


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

The Nun is white, with the head, tail, and primary wing- 
feathers black ; it is a breed which was established as long 
ago as the year 1600. I crossed a male Nun with a female 
red common Tumbler, which latter variety generally breeds 
true. Thus neither parent had a trace of blue in the plumage, 
or of bars on the wing and tail. I should premise that 
common Tumblers are rarely blue in England. From the 
above cross I reared several young : one was red over the 
whole back, but with the tail as blue as that of the rock- 
pigeon ; the terminal bar, however, was absent, but the outer 
feathers were edged with white : a second and third nearly 
resembled the first, but the tail in both presented a trace of 
the bar at the end : a fourth was brownish, and the wings 
showed a trace of the double bar : a fifth was p:\le blue over 
the whole breast, back, croup, and tail, but the neck and 
primary wing-feathers were reddish; the wings presented 
two distinct bars of a red colour ; the tail was not barred, but 
the outer feathers were edged with white. I crossed this 
last curiously coloured bird with a black mongrel of com- 
plicated descent, namely, from a black Barb, a Six)t, and 

26 ' Les Pigeons,' &c, p. 37. 


Almond -turn bier, so that the two young birds produced from 
this cross included the blood of five varieties, none of which 
had a trace of blue or of wing and tail-bars : one of the two 
young birds was brownish-black, with black wing-bars ; the 
other was reddish-dun, with reddish wing-bars, paler than 
the rest of the body, with the croup pale blue, the tail bluish 
with a trace of the terminal bar. 

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

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

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

2T 'Treatise on Pigeons,' 1858, p. 2 » J. Moore's 'Columbarium,' 1735; 

145. in J. M. Eaton's edition, 1852, p. 71. 

Chap. VI. 



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

The last case which I will give is the most curious. I 
paired a mongrel female Barb-fan tail with a mongrel male 
Barb-spot; neither of which mongrels had the least blue 
about them. Let it be remembered that blue Barbs are 
excessively rare ; that Spots, as has been already stated, were 
perfectly characterised in the year 1676, and breed perfectly 
true ; this likewise is the case with white Fantails, so much 
so that I have never heard of white Fantails throwing any 
other colour. Nevertheless the offspring from the above two 
mongrels was of exactly the same blue tint as that of the 
wild rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands over the whole 

29 I could give numerous examples ; 
two will suffice. A mongrel, whose 
four grandparents were a white Turbit, 
white Trumpeter, white Fantail, and 
blue Pouter, was white all over, 
except a very few feathers about the 
head and on the wings, but the whole 
Sail and tail-coverts were dark bluish- 

grey. Another mongrel whose four 
grandparents were a red Runt, white 
Trumpeter, white Fantail, and the 
same blue Pouter, was pure white tal 
over, except the tail and upper aill- 
coverts, which were pale fawn, and 
except the faintest trace of double 
wing-bars of the same pale fawn tint 


back and wings; the double black wing-bars were equally 
conspicuous ; the tail was exactly alike in all its characters, 
and the croup was pure white ; the head, however, was tinted 
with a shade of red, evidently derived from the Spot, and was 
of a paler blue than in the rock-pigeon, as was the stomach. 
So that two black Barbs, a red Spot, and a white Fantail, as 
the four purely-bred grandparents, produced a bird exhibiting 
the general blue colour, together with every characteristic 
mark, the wild Columba lima. 

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

What, then, are we to conclude from this tendency in all 
the chief domestic races, both when purely bred and more 
especially when intercrossed, to produce offspring of a blue 
colour, with the same characteristic marks, varying in the 
same manner, as in Columbia livia ? If we admit that these 
races are all descended from 0. livia, no breeder will doubt 
that the occasional appearance of blue birds thus characterised 


is accounted for on the well-known principle of " throwing 
back " or reversion. Why crossing should give so strong a 
tendency to reversion, we do not with certainty know ; but 
abundant evidence of this fact will be given in the following 
chapters. It is probable that I might have bred even for 
a century pure black Barbs, Spots, Nuns, white Fantails, 
Trumpeters, &c, without obtaining a single blue or barred 
bird ; yet by crossing these breeds I reared in the first and 
second generation, during the course of only three or four 
years, a considerable number of young birds, more or less 
plainly coloured blue, and with most of the characteristic 
marks. When black and white, or black and red birds, are 
crossed, it would appear that a slight tendency exists in both 
parents to produce blue offspring, and that this, when 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. licia, and suppose that they 
are descended from several aboriginal stocks, then we must 
choose between the three following assumptions : firstly, that 
at least eight or nine species formerly existed which were 
aboriginally coloured in various ways, but have since varied 
in exactly the same manner so as to assume the colouring 
of C. livia ; but this assumption throws not the least light on 
the appearance of such colours and marks when the races are 
crossed. Or secondly, we may assume that the aboriginal 
species were all coloured blue, and had the wing-bars and 
other characteristic marks of C. livia, — a supposition which is 
highly improbable, as besides this one species no existing 
member of the Colunibidae presents these combined cha- 
racters; 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 routers, 
Fantails, Carriers, 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 fanciers, have 
all been crossed within a dozen or score of generations with 
C. livia, and have thus acquired their tendency to produce 


blue birds with the several characteristic marks. I have said 
that it must be assumed that each race has been crossed with 
C. livia within a dozen, or, at the utmost, within a score of 
generations ; for there is no reason to believe that crossed 
offspring ever revert to one of their ancestors when removed 
by a greater number of generations. In a breed which has 
been crossed only once, the tendency to reversion will 
naturally become less and less in the succeeding generations, 
as in each there will be less and less of the blood of the 
foreign breed ; but when there has been no cross with a 
distinct breed, and there is a tendency in both parents to 
revert to some long-lost character, this tendency, for all that 
we can see to the contrary, may be transmitted undiminished 
for an indefinite number of generations. These two distinct 
cases of reversion are often confounded together by those 
who have written on inheritance. 

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

To sum up the six foregoing arguments, which are opposed 
to the belief that the chief domestic races are the descendants 
of at least eight or nine or perhaps a dozen species ; for the 
crossing of any less number would not yield the characteristic 
differences between the several races. Firstly, the improba- 
bility that so many species should still exist somewhere, but 
be unknown to ornithologists, or that they should have 
become within the historical period extinct, although man 
has had so little influence in exterminating the wild C. livia. 
Secondly, the improbability of man in former times having 
thoroughly domesticated and rendered fertile under confine' 


merit so many species. Thirdly, these supposed species having 
nowhere become feral. Fourthly, the extraordinary fact that 
man should, intentionally or by chance, have chosen for 
domestication several species, extremely abnormal in cha- 
racter; 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 domesticated the rock-pigeon. 
Nor am I surprised at any degree of hesitation in admitting 
their common parentage : formerly, when I went into my 
aviaries and watched such birds as Pouters, Carriers, Barbs, 
Fantails, and Short-faced Tumblers, &c., I could not persuade 
myself that all had descended from the same wild stock, 
and that man had consequently in one sense created these 
remarkable modifications. Therefore I have argued the 
question of their origin at great, and, as some will think, 
superfluous length. 

Finally, in favour of the belief that all the races ar^ 


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

That circumstances have been eminently favourable for 
the modification of the pigeon through variation and selec- 
tion will now be shown. The earliest record, as has been 
pointed out to me by Professor Lepsius, of pigeons in a 
domesticated condition, occurs in the fifth Egyptian dynasty, 
about 3000 b.c. ; 31 but Mr. Birch, of the British Museum, 
informs me that the pigeon appears in a bill of fare in the 
previous dynasty. Domestic pigeons are mentioned in 
Genesis, Leviticus, and Isaiah. 32 In the time of the Romans, 

30 It deserves notice, as bearing on predicament. This is the case, as Mr. 

the general subject of variation, that Blyth has remarked to me, with 

not only C. livia presents several wild Treron, Palumbus, and Turtur. 
forms, regarded by some naturalists as 31 ' Denkm'aler,' Abth. ii. Bl. 70. 

species and by others as sub-species or 32 The ' Dovecote,' by the Rev. E. S. 

as mere varieties, but that the species Dixon, 1851, pp. 11-13. Adolphe 

of several allied genera are in the same Pictet (in his ' Les Origines InJo- 


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 1(300, pigeons were much valued by Akber Khan : 
20,000 birds were carried about with the court, and the 
merchants brought valuable collections. " The monarch of 
Iran and Turan sent him some very rare breeds. His 
Majesty," says the courtly historian, " by crossing the breeds, 
which method was never practised before, has improved them 
astonishingly." 34 Akber Khan possessed seventeen distinct 
kinds, eight of which were valuable for beauty alone. At 
about this same period of 1600 the Dutch, according to 
Aldrovandi, were as eager about pigeons as the Eomans had 
formerly been. The breeds which were kept during the 
fifteenth century in Europe and in India apparently differed 
from each other. Tavernier, in his Travels in 1677, speaks, 
as does Chardin in 1735, of the vast number of pigeon- 
houses in Persia ; and the former remarks that, as Christians 
were not permitted to keep pigeons, some of the vulgar 
actually turned Mahometans for this sole purpose. The 
Emperor of Morocco had his favourite keeper of pigeons, as 
is mentioned in Moore's treatise, published 1737. In England, 
from the time of W'illughby 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 in- 
vocation, " in the name of God, the gracious and merciful." 
Many large towns, in Europe and the United States, now 
have their societies of devoted pigeon- fanciers : at present 
there are three such societies in London. In India, as I hear 
from Mr. Blyth, the inhabitants of Delhi and of some other 
great cities are eager fanciers. Mr. Layard informs me 

Europeennes,' 1859, p. 399) states domestication of the pigeon in the 

that there are in the ancient Sanscrit East. 

language between 25 and 30 names 33 English translation, 1601, Book 

for the pigeon, and other 15 or 16 x. ch. xxxvii. 

Persian names ; none of these are com- 34 ' Ayeen Akbery,' translated by 

mon to the European languages. This F. Gladwin, 4to edit., vol. i. p. 270. 

fact indicates the antiquity of the 


that most of the known breeds are kept in Ceylon. In 
China, according to Mr. Swinhoe of Amoy, and Dr. Lockhart 
of Shangai, Carriers, Fantails, Tumblers, and other varieties 
are reared with care, especially by the bonzes or priests. 
The Chinese fasten a kind of whistle to the tail-feathers of 
their pigeons, and as the flock wheels through the air they 
produce a sweet sound. In Egypt the late Abbas Pacha was 
a great fancier of Fantails. Many pigeons are kept at Cairo 
and Constantinople, and these have lately been imported by 
native merchants, as I hear from Sir W. Elliot, into Southern 
India, and sold at high prices. 

The foregoing statements show in how many countries, 
and during how long a period, many men have been passion- 
ately devoted to the breeding of pigeons. Hear how an 
enthusiastic fancier at the present day writes : " If it were 
possible for noblemen and gentlemen to know the amazing 
amount of solace and pleasure derived from Almond Tumblers, 
when they begin to understand their properties, I should 
think that scarce any nobleman or gentleman would be 
without their aviaries of Almond Tumblers." 35 The pleasure 
thus taken is of paramount importance, as it leads amateurs 
carefully to note and preserve each slight deviation of 
structure which strikes their fancy. Pigeons are often 
closely confined during their whole lives ; they do not 
partake of their naturally varied diet ; they have often been 
transported from one climate to another; and all these 
changes in their conditions of life would be likely to cause 
variability. Pigeons have been domesticated for nearty 
5000 years, and have been kept in many places, so that the 
numbers reared under domestication must have been enor- 
mous : and this is another circumstance of high importance, 
for it obviously favours the chance of rare modifications of 
structure occasionally appearing. Slight variations of all 
kinds would almost certainly be observed, and, if valued, 
would, owing to the following circumstances, be preserved 
and propagated with unusual facility. Pigeons, differently 
from any other domesticated animal, can easily be mated fur 


J. M. Eaton, 'Treatise on the Almond Tumbler,' 1851 ; Preface, p. vi. 


life, and, though, kept with other pigeons, rarely prove un- 
faithful to each other. Even when the male does "break his 
marriage-vow, he does not permanently desert his mate. I 
have bred in the same aviaries many pigeons of different 
kinds, and never reared a single bird of an impure strain. 
Hence a fancier can with the greatest ease select and 
match his birds. He will also see the good results of his 
care; for pigeons breed with extraordinary rapidity. He 
may freely reject inferior birds, as they serve at an early 
age as excellent food. 

History of the principal Races of the Pigeon. 36 

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

Pouters. — These birds, as far as a very short description serves for 
comparison, appear to have been well characterised in Aldrovandi's 
time, 37 before the year 1600. Length of body and length of leg are 
at the present time the two chief points of excellence. In 1735 
Moore said (see Mr. J. M. Eaton s edition)— and Moore was a first- 
rate fancier — that he once saw a bird with a body 20 inches in 
length, " though 17 or 18 inches is reckoned a very good length ;" and 
he has seen the legs very nearly 7 inches in length, yet a leg 6£ or 61 
long " must be allowed to be a very good one." Mr. Bult, the most 

88 As in the following discussion I completed in the year 1858. 
oftpn speak of the present time, I 37 ' Ornithologie,' 1600, vol. ii. p. 

should state that this chapter was 360. 


successful breeder of Pouters in the world, informs me that at 
present (1858) the standard length of the body is not less than 18 
inches; but he has measured one bird 19 inches in length, and has 
heard of 20 and 22 inches, but doubts the truth of these latter 
statements. The standard length of the leg is now 7 inches, but 
Mr. Bult has recently measured two of his own birds with legs 7h 
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 k inches in length. The extremely slight improvement in Pouters, 
except in the length of the leg, during the last 123 years, may be 
partly accounted for by the neglect which they suffered, as I am 
informed by Mr. Bult, until within the last 20 or 30 years. About 
1765 38 there was a change of fashion, stouter and more feathered 
legs being preferred to thin and nearly naked legs. 

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

Jacobins. — This breed existed before 1600, but the hood, judging 
from the figure given by Aldrovandi, did not enclose the head 
nearly so perfectly as at present : nor was the head then white ; 
nor were the wings and tail so long, but this last character might 
have been overlooked by the rude artist. In Moore's time, in 1735, the 
Jacobin was considered the smallest kind of pigeon, and the bill is 

38 ' A Treatise on Domestic of part of the ' Ayeen Akbery ' ic 
Pigeons,' dedicated to Mr. Mayor, * Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' vol. 
17H5. Preface, p. xiv. xix. 1847, p. 104. 

39 Mr. Blyth has given a translation 


said to be very short. Hence either the Jacobin, or the other kinds 
with which it was then compared, must since that time have been 
considerably modified ; for Moore's description (and it must be 
remembered that he was a first-rate judge) is clearly not applicable, 
as far as size of body and length of beak are concerned, to our present 
Jacobins. In 1795, juging from Bechstein, the breed had assumed 
its present character. 

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, winch shows 
a change in the one or the other race. The Turbit, with its charac- 
teristic frill, and bearing its present name, is described by Willughby 
in 1677; and the bill is said to be like that of the bullfinch, — a good 
comparison, but now more strictly applicable to the beak of the 
Barb. The sub-breed called the Owl was well known in Moore's 
time, in 1735, 

Tumblers— Common Tumblers, as well as Ground Tumblers, perfect 
as far as tumbling is concerned, existed in India before the year 
1600 ; and at this period diversified modes of flight, such as flying 
at night, the ascent to a great height, and manner of descent, seem 
to have been much attended to in India, as at the present time. 
Belon 40 in 1555 saw in Paphlagonia what he describes as " a very 
new thing, viz. pigeons which flew so high in the air that they were 
lost to view, but returned to their pigeon-house without separating." 
This manner of flight is characteristic of our present Tumblers, but 
it is clear that Belon would have mentioned the act of tumbling if 
the pigeons described by him had tumbled. Tumblers were not 
known in Europe in 1600, as they are not mentioned by Aldrovandi, 
who discusses the flight of pigeons. They are briefly alluded to by 
Willughby, in 1687, as small pigeons " which show like footballs in 
the air." The short-faced race did not exist at this period, as 
Willughby could not have overlooked birds so remarkable for their 
small size and short beaks. We can even trace some of the steps 
by which this race has been produced. Moore in 1735 enumerates 
correctly the chief points of excellence, but does not give any de- 
scription of the several sub-breeds ; and from this fact Mr. Eaton 
infers 41 that the Short-faced Tumbler had not then come to full 
perfection. Moore even speaks of the Jacobin as being the smallest 
pigeon. Thirty years afterwards, in 1765, in the Treatise dedicated 
to Mayor, short-faced Almond Tumblers are fully described, but the 
author, an excellent fancier, expressly states in his Preface (p. xiv.) 
that, " from great care and expense in breeding them, they have 
arrived to so great perfection and are so different from what they 
were 20 or 30 years past, that an old fancier would have condemned 

40 ' L'Histoire de la Nature des * l 'Treatise on Pigeons,' 1852, p. 

Oiseauz,' p. 314. 64. 


them for no other reason than because they are not like what used 
to be thought good when he was in the fancy before." Hence it 
would appear that there was a rather sudden change in the character 
of the short-faced Tumbler at about this period ; and there is reason 
to suspect that a dwarfed and half-monstrous bird, the parent-form 
of the several short-faced sub-breeds, then appeared. I suspect 
this because short-faced Tumblers are born with their beaks 
(ascertained by careful measurement) as short, proportionally with 
the size of their bodies, as in the adult bird ; and in this respect 
they differ greatly from all other breeds, which slowly acquire during 
growth their various characteristic qualities. 

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

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

Barbs. — Notwithstanding statements to the contrary, it seems to 
me impossible to recognise the Barb in Aldrovandi's description and 

43 J. M. Eaton's 'Treatise on the Tumbler,' 1851. Compart, p. v. of Pre- 
Breeding and Managingof the Almond face, p. 9, and p. 32. 


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

English Carrier. — We may look in vain in Aldrovandi's work for 
any bird resembling our prize Carriers ; the C. persica et turcica of 
this author comes the nearest, but is said to have had a short thick 
beak ; therefore it must have approached in character a Barb, and 
have differed greatly from our Carriers. In Willughby's time, in 
1677, we can clearly recognise the Carrier, yet he adds, " the bill is 
not short, but of a moderate length ;" a description which no one 
would apply to our present Carriers, so conspicuous for the 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, now found in Persia. In England at the 
present day " there are," as Mr. Eaton 43 states, " beaks that would 
measure (from edge of eye to tip of beak) one inch and three-quarters, 
and some few even two inches in length." 

From these historical details we see that nearly all the 
chief domestic races existed before the year 1600. Some 
remarkable only for colour appear to have been identical with 
our present breeds, some were nearly the same, some con- 
siderably different, and some have since become extinct. 
Several breeds, such as Finnikins and Turners, the swallow- 
tailed pigeon of Bechstein and the Carmelite, seem to have 

43 ' Treatise on Pigeons,' 1852, p. 41. 


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

Manner of Formation of the chief Races. 

We will now consider more closely the probable steps by 
which the chief races have been formed. As long as pigeons 
are kept semi-domesticated in dovecots in their native country, 
without any care in selecting and matching them, they are 
liable to little more variation than the wild C. livia, namely, 
in the wings becoming chequered with black, in the croup 
being blue or white, and in the size of the body. When, 
however, dovecot pigeons are transported into diversified 


countries, such as Sierra Leone, the Malay archipelago, and 
Madeira, they are exposed to new conditions of life ; and 
apparently in consequence vary in a somewhat greater degree. 
When closely confined, either for the pleasure of watching 
them, or to prevent their straying, they must be exposed, 
even in their native climate, to considerably different con- 
ditions ; for they cannot obtain their natural diversity of 
food; and, what is probably more important, they are 
abundantly fed, whilst debarred from taking much exercise. 
Under these circumstances we might expect to find, from the 
analogy of all other domesticated animals, a greater amount 
of individual variability than with the wild pigeon ; and this 
is the case. The want of exercise apparently tends to reduce 
the size of the feet and organs of flight ; and then, from the 
law of correlation of growth, the beak apparently becomes 
affected. From what we now see occasionally taking place in 
our aviaries, we may conclude that sudden variations or 
sports, such as the appearance of a crest of feathers on the 
head, of feathered feet, of a new shade of colour, of an addi- 
tional feather in the tail or wing, would occur at rare intervals 
during the many centuries which have elapsed since the pigeon 
was first domesticated. At the present day such " sports " 
are generally rejected as blemishes ; and there is so much 
mystery in the breeding of pigeons that, if a valuable sport 
did occur, its history would often be concealed. Before the 
last hundred and fifty years, there is hardly a chance of the 
history of any such sport having been recorded. But it by 
no means follows from this that such sports in former times, 
when the pigeon had undergone much less variation, would 
have been rejected. We are profoundly ignorant of the cause 
of each sudden and apparently spontaneous variation, as well 
as of the infinitely numerous shades of difference between the 
birds of the same family. But in a future chapter we shall 
see that all such variations appear to be the indirect result of 
changes of some kind in the conditions of life. 

Hence, after a long course of domestication, we might 
expect to see in the pigeon much individual variability, and 
occasional sudden variations, as well as slight modifications 
from the lessened use of certain parts, together with the 


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

Another form of selection has hardly been noticed by those 
authors who have discussed this subject, but is even more im- 
portant. This form may be called unconscious selection, for 
the breeder selects his birds unconsciously, unintentionally, 
and without method, yet he surely though slowly produces a 
great result. I refer to the effects which follow from each 
fancier at first procuring and afterwards rearing as good birds 
as he can, according to his skill, and according to the standard 
of excellence at each successive period. He does not wish 
permanently to modify the breed ; he does not look to the 
distant future, or speculate on the final result of the slow 
accumulation during many generations of successive slight 
changes ; he is content if he possesses a good stock, and more 
than content if he can beat his rivals. The fancier in the 


time of Aldrovandi, when in the year 1600 he admired his 
own Jacobins, Pouters, or Carriers, never reflected what their 
descendants in the year 1860 would become : he would have 
been astonished could he have seen our Jacobins, our improved 
English Carriers, and our Pouters ; he would probably have 
denied that they were the descendants of his own once- 
admired stock, and he would perhaps not have valued 
them, for no other reason, as was written in 1765, "than 
because they were not like what used to be thought good 
when he was in the fancy." No one will attribute the 
lengthened beak of the Carrier, the shortened beak of the 
Short-faced Tumbler, the lengthened leg of the Pouter, the 
more perfectly enclosed hood of the Jacobin, &c, — changes 
effected since the time of Aldrovandi, or even since a much 
later period, — to the direct and immediate action of the con- 
ditions of life. For these several races have been modified in 
various and even in directly opposite ways, though kept 
under the same climate and treated in all respects in as nearly 
uniform a manner as possible. Each slight change in the 
length or shortness of the beak, in the length of leg, &c, has 
no doubt been indirectly and remotely caused by some change 
in the conditions to which the bird has been subjected, but 
we must attribute the final result, as is manifest in those 
cases of which we have any historical record, to the con- 
tinued selection and accumulation of many slight successive 

The action of unconscious selection, as far as pigeons are 
concerned, depends on a universal principle in human nature, 
namely, on our rivalry, and desire to outdo our neighbours. 
We see this in every fleeting fashion, even in our dress, and 
it leads the fancier to endeavour to exaggerate every pecu- 
liarity in his breeds. A great authority on pigeons, 44 says, 
" Fanciers do not and will not admire a medium standard, 
that is, half and half, which is neither here nor there, but 
admire extremes." After remarking that the fancier of Short- 
faced Beard Tumblers wishes for a very short beak, and that 
the fancier of Long-faced Beard Tumblers wishes for a very 

44 Eaton's 'Treatise on Pigeons,' 1858, p. 86. 


long beak, he says, with respect to one of intermediate length, 
" Don't deceive yourseli. Do yon suppose for a moment the 
short or the long-faced fancier wonld accept such a bird as a 
gift ? Certainly not ; the short-faced fancier could see no 
beauty in it ; the long-faced fancier would swear there was 
no use in it, &c." In these comical passages, written seriously, 
we see the principle which has ever guided fanciers, and has 
led to such great modifications in all the domestic races which 
are valued solely for their beauty or curiosity. 

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

Let it not be objected to this view of the action of uncon- 
scious selection that fanciers would not observe or care for 
extremely slight differences. Those alone who have associated 
with fanciers can be thoroughly aware of their accurate 
powers of discrimination acquired by long practice, and of the 
care and labour which they bestow on their birds. I have 
known a fancier deliberately study his birds day after day to 
settle which to match together and which to reject. Observe 
how difficult the subject appears to one of the most eminent 
and experienced fanciers. Mr. Eaton, the winner of many 
prizes, says, " I would here particularly guard you against 
keeping too great a variety of pigeons, otherwise you will 
know a little about all the kinds, but nothing about one as it 


ought to be known." " It is possible there may be a few 
fanciers that have a good general knowledge of the several 
fancy pigeons, but there are many who labour under the 
delusion of supposing they know what they do not." Speaking 
exclusively of one sub-variety of one race, namely, the short- 
faced almond tumbler, and after saying that some fanciers 
sacrifice every property to obtain a good head and beak, and 
that other fanciers sacrifice everything for plumage, he 
remarks : " Some young fanciers who are over covetous go in 
for all the five properties at once, and they have their reward 
by getting nothing." In India, as I hear from Mr. Blyth, 
pigeons are likewise selected and matched with the greatest 
care. We must not judge of the slight divergences from 
existing varieties which would have been valued in ancient 
days, by those which are now valued after the formation of so 
many races, each with its own standard of perfection, kept 
uniform by our numerous Exhibitions. The ambition of the 
most energetic fancier may be fully satisfied by the difficulty 
of excelling other fanciers in the breeds already established, 
without trying to form a new one. 

A difficulty with respect to the power of selection will 
perhaps already have occurred to the reader, namely, what 
could have led fanciers first to attempt to make such singular 
breeds as Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, &c. ? But it is this very 
difficulty which the principle of unconscious selection re- 
moves. 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 dis- 
criminating 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 

45 See Neumeister's figure of the Florence Runt, tab. 13, in 'Das Ganze 
der Taubenzucht.' 


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 know the origin of the common 
Tumbler, but we may suppose that a bird was born with 
some affection of the brain, leading it to make somersaults in 
the air; 46 and before the year 1600 pigeons remarkable for 
their diversified manner of flight were much valued in India, 
and by the order of the Emperor Akber Khan were sedulously 
trained and carefully matched. 

In the foregoing cases we have supposed that a sudden 
variation, conspicuous enough to catch a fancier's eye, first 
appeared ; but even this degree of abruptness in the process 
of variation is not necessary for the formation of a new breed. 
When the same kind of pigeon has been kept pure, and has 
been bred during a long period by two or more fanciers, 
slight differences in the strain can often be recognized. 
Thus I have seen first-rate Jacobins in one man's possession 
which certainly differed slightly in several characters from 
those kept by another. I possessed some excellent Barbs 
descended from a pair which had won a prize, and another 
lot descended from a stock formerly kept by that famous 
fancier Sir John Sebright, and these plainly differed in the 
form of the beak ; but the differences were so slight that 
they could hardly be given by words. Again, the com- 
mon English and Dutch Tumbler differ in a somewhat 
greater degree, both in length of beak and shape of head. 
What first caused these slight differences cannot be explained 
any more than why one man has a long nose and another a 
short one. In the strains long kept distinct by different 
fanciers, such differences are so common that they cannot be 
accounted for by the accident of the birds first chosen for 
breeding having been originally as different as they now are. 
The explanation no doubt lies in selection of a slightly 
different nature having been applied in each case; for no 

46 Mr. W. J. Moore gives a full to an ordinary pigeon, brings on 

account of the Ground Tumblers of convulsive movements exactly like 

India (' Indian Medical Gazette,' Jan. those of a Tumbler. One pigeon, the 

and Feb. 1873), and says the pricking brain of which had been pricked, com- 

thebase of the brain, and giving hydro- pletely recovered, and ever afterwards 

cyanic acid, together with strychnine, occasionally made somersaults. 


two fanciers have exactly the same taste, and consequently 
no two, in choosing and carefully matching their birds, 
prefer or select exactly the same. As each man naturally 
admires his own birds, he goes on continually exaggerating 
by selection whatever slight peculiarities they may possess. 
This will more especially happen with fanciers living in 
different countries, who do not compare their stocks or aim 
at a common standard of perfection. Thus, when a mere 
strain has once been formed, unconscious selection steadily 
tends to augment the amount of difference, and thus converts 
the strain into a sub-breed and this ultimately into a well- 
marked breed or race. 

The principle of correlation of growth should never be lost 
sight of. Most pigeons have small feet, apparently caused 
by their lessened use, and from correlation, as it would 
appear, their beaks have likewise become reduced in length. 
The beak is a conspicuous organ, and, as soon as it had thus 
become perceptibly shortened, fanciers would almost certainly 
strive to reduce it still more by the continued selection of 
birds with the shortest beaks ; whilst at the same time other 
fanciers, as we know has actually been the case, would in 
other sub-breeds, strive to increase its length. With the 
increased length of the beak, the tongue becomes greatly 
lengthened, as do the eyelids with the increased development 
of the eye-wattles ; with the reduced or increased size of the 
feet, the number of the scutellse vary ; with the length of the 
wing, the number of the primary wing-feathers differ ; and 
with the increased length of the body in the pouter the 
number of the sacral vertebrae is augmented. These im- 
portant and correlated differences of structure do not in- 
variably 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 vertebrse had 


been visible and had been attended to by fanciers, assuredly 
an additional number might easily have been fixed in the 
Pouter. If these latter characters had once been rendered 
constant, we should never have suspected that they had at 
first been highly variable, or that they had arisen from 
correlation, in the one case with the shortness of the wings, 
and in the other case with the length of the body. 

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

Occasionally a breed may be retained for some particular 
quality in a nearly unaltered condition in the same country, 
together with highly modified off-shoots or sub-breeds, which 
are valued for some distinct property. We see this ex- 
emplified in England, where the common Tumbler, which is 
valued only for its flight, does not differ much from its 
parent- form, the Eastern Tumbler; whereas the Short-faced 
Tumbler has been prodigiously modified, from being valued, 
not for its flight, but for other qualities. But the common- 
flying Tumbler of Europe has ahead}" begun to branch out 


into slightly different sub-breeds, such as the common 
English Tumbler, the Dutch Eoller, the Glasgow House- 
tumbler, and the Long-faced Beard Tumbler, &c. ; and in the 
course of centuries, unless fashions greatly change, these sub- 
oreeds will diverge through the slow and insensible process 
of unconscious selection, and become modified, in a greater 
and greater degree. After a time the perfectly graduated 
links which now connect all these sub-breeds together, will 
be lost, for there would be no object and much difficulty in 
retaining such a host of intermediate sub-varieties. 

The principle of divergence, together with the extinction 
of the many previously existing intermediate forms, is so 
important for understanding the origin of domestic races, as 
well as of species in a state of nature, that I will enlarge a 
little more on this subject. Our third main group includes 
Carriers, Barbs, and Runts, which are plainly related to one 
another, yet wonderfully distinct in several important cha- 
racters. According to the view given in the last chapter, 
these three races have probably descended from an unknown 
race having an intermediate character, and this race from the 
rock-pigeon. Their characteristic differences are believed to 
be due to different breeders having at an early period admired 
different points of structure ; and then, on the acknowledged 
principle of admiring extremes, having gone on breeding, 
without any thought of the future, as good birds as they 
could, — Carrier-fanciers preferring long beaks with much 
wattle, — Barb-fanciers preferring short thick beaks with 
much eye-wattle, — and Runt-fanciers not caring about the 
beak or wattle, but only for the size and weight of the body. 
This process would have led to the neglect and final extinc- 
tion of the earlier, inferior, and intermediate birds ; and thus 
it has come to pass, that in Europe these three races are now 
so extraordinarily distinct from each other. But in the East, 
whence they were originally brought, the fashion has been 
different, and we there see breeds which connect the highly 
modified English Carrier with the rock-pigeon, and others 
which to a certain extent connect Carriers and Runts. Look- 
ing back to the time of Aldrovandi, we find that there 
existed in Europe, before the year 1600, four breeds which 


were closely allied to Carriers and Barbs, but which competent 
authorities cannot now identify with our present Barbs and 
Carriers ; nor can Aldrovandi's Runts be identified with our 
present Runts. These four breeds certainly did not differ 
from each other nearly so much as do our existing English 
Carriers, Barbs, and Runts. All this is exactly what might 
have been anticipated. If we could collect all the pigeons 
which have ever lived, from before the time of the Romans 
to the present day, we should be able to group them in 
several lines, diverging from the parent rock-pigeon. Each 
line would consist of almost insensible steps, occasionally 
broken by some slightly greater variation or sport, and each 
would culminate in one of our present highly modified forms. 
Of the many former connecting links, some would be found 
to have become absolutely extinct without having left any 
issue, whilst others, though extinct, would be recognized as 
the progenitors of the existing races. 

I have heard it remarked as a strange circumstance that 
we occasionally hear of the local or complete extinction of 
domestic races, whilst we hear nothing of their origin. How, 
it has been asked, can these losses be compensated, and more 
than compensated, for we know that with almost all domes- 
ticated 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 ex- 
tinction of a race within historical times is an event likely 
to be noticed ; but its gradual and scarcely sensible modifi- 
cation 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 conver- 
sion into sub-breeds, and these into well-marked breeds are 
events which would rarely be noticed. The death of a tree, 
that has attained gigantic dimensions, is recorded ; the slow 
growth of smaller trees and their increase in number excite 
no attention. 

In accordance with the belief in the great power of selection, 
and of the little direct power of changed conditions of life, 
except in causing general variability or plasticity of organisa- 
tion, it is not surprising that dovecot-pigeons have remained 


unaltered from time immemorial ; and that some toy-pigeons, 
which differ in little else besides colour from the dovecot- 
pigeon, have retained the same character for several centuries. 
For when one of these toy-pigeons had once become beautifully 
and symmetrically coloured, — when, for instance, a Spot had 
been produced with the crown of its head, its tail, and tail- 
coverts of a uniform colour, the rest of the body being snow- 
white, — no alteration or improvement would be desired. On 
the other hand, it is not surprising that during this same 
interval of time our highly-bred pigeons have undergone an 
astonishing amount of change ; for in regard to them there 
is no defined limit to the wish of the fancier, and there is no 
known limit to the variability of their characters. What is 
there to stop the fancier desiring to give to his Carrier a 
longer and longer beak, or to his Tumbler a shorter and 
shorter beak ? nor has the extreme limit of variability in the 
beak, if there be any such limit, as yet been reached. Not- 
withstanding 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 Columbidpe, because their differences 
are not of the same nature. The domestic races, for instance 
do not differ, or differ hardly at all, in the relative lengths 
and shape of the primary wing-feathers, in the relative 
length of the hind toe, or in habits of life, as in roosting and 
building in trees. But the above objection shows how com- 
pletely the principle of selection has been misunderstood. It 
is not likely that characters selected by the caprice of man 
should resemble differences preserved under natural conditions 
either from being of direct service to each species, or from 
standing in correlation with other modified and serviceable 
structures. Until man selects birds differing in the relative 
length of the wing-feathers or toes, &c, no sensible change 
in these parts should be expected. Nor could man do anything 


unless these parts happened to vary under domestication: 
1 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. 
Y\ e 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 n\ay conclude with confidence that all the domestic races, 
notwithstanding their great amount of difference, are de- 
scended from the Columba livia, including under this name 
certain wild races. But the differences between the latter 
throw no light whatever on the characters which distinguish 
the domestic races. In each breed or sub-breed the individual 
birds are more variable than birds in a state of nature ; and 
occasionally they vary in a sudden and strongly-marked 
manner. This plasticity of organization apparently results 
from changed conditions of life. Disuse has reduced certain 
parts of the body. Correlation of growth so ties the organisa- 
tion together, that when one part varies other parts vary at 
the same time. When several breeds have once been formed, 
their intercrossing aids the progress of modification, and has 
even produced new sub-breeds. But as, in the construction 
of a building, mere stones or bricks are of little avail without 
the builder's art, so, in the production of new races, selection 
has been the presiding power. Fanciers can act by selection 
on excessively slight individual differences, as well as on 
those greater differences which are called sports. Selection 


is followed methodically when the fancier tries to improve 
and modify a breed according to a prefixed standard of excel- 
lence; or he acts unmethodically and unconsciously, by 
merely trying to rear as good birds as he can, without any 
wish or intention to alter the breed. The progress of 
selection almost inevitably leads to the neglect and ultimate 
extinction of the earlier and less improved forms, as well as 
of many intermediate links in each long line of descent. 
Thus it has come to pass that most of our present races are 
so marvellously distinct from each other, and from the 
aboriginal rock -pigeon. 

236 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 




As some naturalists may not be familiar with the chief breeds 
of the fowl, it will be advisable to give a condensed descrip- 
tion of them. 1 From what I have read and seen of specimens 
brought from several quarters of the world, I believe that 
most of the chief kinds have been imported into England, but 
many sub-breeds are probably still unknown here. The 
following discussion on the origin of the various breeds and 
on their characteristic differences does not pretend to com- 
pleteness, but may be of some interest to the naturalist. The 
classification of the breeds cannot, as far as I can see, be made 
natural. They differ from each other in different degrees, and 
do not afford characters in subordination to each other, by 
which they can be ranked in group under group. They seem 
all to have diverged by independent and different roads from 
a single type. Each chief breed includes differently coloured 
sub-varieties, most of which can be truly propagated, but it 
would be superfluous to describe them. I have classed the 
various crested fowls as sub-breeds under the Polish fowl ; 

1 I have drawn up this brief synop- likewise assisted me in every possible 

sis from various sources, but chiefly way in obtaining for me information 

from information given me by Mr. and specimens. I must not let this 

Tegetmeier. This gentleman has opportunity pass without expressing 

kindly looked through this chapter ; my cordial thanks to Mr. B. P. Brent, 

and from his well-known knowledge, a well-known writer on poultry, for 

the statements here given may be continuous assistance and the gift of 

fully trusted. Mr. Tegetmeier has many specimens. 


but I have great doubts whether this is a natural arrange- 
ment, showing true affinit}^ or blood relationship. It is 
scarcely possible to avoid laying stress on the commonness of 
a breed; and if certain foreign sub-breeds had been largely 
kept in this country they would perhaps have been raised to 
the rank of main-breeds. Several breeds are abnormal in 
character ; that is, they differ in certain points from all wild 
Gallinaceous birds. At first I made a division of the breeds 
into normal and abnormal, but the result was wholly unsatis- 

1. Game Breed. — This may be considered as the typical breed, as 
it deviates only slightly from the wild G alius bankiva,oi, as perhaps 
more correctly named, ferrugineus. Beak strong; comb single and 
upright. Spurs long and sharp. Feathers closely appressed to the 
body. Tail with the normal number of 14 feathers. Eggs often 
pale buff. Disposition indomitably courageous, exhibited even in 
the hens and chickens. An unusual number of differently coloured 
varieties exist, such as black and brown-breasted reds, duckwings, 
blacks, whites, piles, &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 appressed to the body ; neck- 
hackles short, narrow, and hard. Eggs often pale buff. Chickens 
feather late. Disposition savage. Of Eastern origin. 

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

4. Dorking Breed. — Size great; body square, compact; feet 
with an additional toe ; comb well developed, but varies much in 
form ; w T attles 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 (fig 30). — Tall, with stately carriage ; tarsi 
long; comb single, deeply serrated, of immense size ; wattles largely 
developed ; the large ear-lobes and sides of face white. Plumage black 
glossed with green. Do not incubate. Tender in constitution, 
the comb being often injured by frost. Eggs white, smooth, of 
large size. Chickens feather late but the young cocks show their 



Chap. VII. 

masculine characters, and crow at an early age. Of Mediterranean 

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

Fig. 30.— Spanish Fowl. 

6. Hamburgh Breed (fig. 31). — Size moderate ; comb flat, 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 depressed 
than usual. 

Chap. VII. 



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

7. Crested or Polish Breed (fig. 32). — Head with a large, 
rounded crest of feathers, supported on a hemispherical protuberance 

Fig. 31— Hamburgh Fowl. 

of the frontal bones,which includes the anterior part of the brain. 
The ascending branches of premaxillary bones and the inner nasal 
processes are much shortened. The orifice of the nostrils raised 
and crescentic. Beak short. Comb absent, or small and of cre- 
scentic 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 ia colour and slightly in other respects. 



Chat. VII. 

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- 

Flg. 32.— Polish Fowl. 

feathered legs. The tail is furnished with additional sickle feathers 
Do not incubate. 2 

Sub-breed (b) Ptarmigans. — An inferior breed closely allied to 

2 The best account of Sultans is by 
Miss Watts in 'The Poultry Yard,' 
1856, p. 79. I owe to Mr. Brent's- 

kindness the examination of some 
specimens of this breed. 


the last, white, rather small, legs much feathered, with the crest 
pointed ; comb small, cupped; wattles small. 

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

Sub-breed (d) Creve-cozur. — A French breed of large size, barely 
capable of flight, with short black legs, head crested, comb produced 
into two points or horns, sometimes a little branched like the horns 
of a stag ; both beard and wattles present. Eggs large. Disposition 
quiet. 3 

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

Sub-breed (/) Houdan. — A French breed ; of moderate size, short- 
legged with five toes, well developed ; plumage invariably mottled 
with black, white, and straw-yellow ; head furnished with a crest, on 
a triple comb placed transversely ; both wattles and beard present. 4 

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

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

9. Kumplkss Fowls. — These are so variable in character 6 that 
they hardly deserve to be called a breed. Any one who will examine 
the caudal vertebrae will see how monstrous the breed is. 

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

11. Frizzled or Caffre Fowls. — Not uncommon in India, with 
the feathers curling backwards, and with the primary feathers of 
the wing and tail imperfect ; periosteum of bones black. 

3 A good description, with figures, 5 Mr. Crawfurd, ' Descript. Diet, 
is given of this sub-breed in the of the Indian Islands,' p. 113. Ban- 
'Jom - nal of Horticulture,' June 10th, tarns are mentioned in an ancient 
1862, p. 206. native Japanese Encyclopaedia, as I am 

4 A. description, with figures, is informed by Mr. Birch of the British 
given of this breed in 'Journal of Museum. 

Horticulture,' June 3rd, 1862, p. 186. 6 ' Ornamental and Domestic Pou 

Snme writers describe the comb as try,' 1848. 
f wo-horned. 

242 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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

13. Sooty Fowls. — An Indian breed, having the peculiar appear- 
ance of a white bird smeared with soot, with black skin and 
periosteum. The hens alone are thus characterised. 

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

7 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poultry,' 1848. 


though they are well aware that their birds differ individually 
and that by selecting the best birds for a few generations they, 
can improve their stocks. 

An amateur writes 8 as follows : " The fact that poultry 
have until lately received but little attention at the hands ot 
the fancier, and been entirely confined to the domains of the 
producer for the market, would alone suggest the improba- 
bility of that constant and unremitting attention having been 
observed in breeding, which is requisite to the consummating 
in the offspring of any two birds transmittable forms not 
exhibited by the parents." This at first sight appears true. 
But in a future chapter on Selection, abundant facts will be 
given showing not only that careful breeding, but that actual 
selection was practised during ancient periods, and by barely 
civilized races of man. In the case of the fowl I can adduce 
no direct facts showing that selection was anciently practised ; 
but the Eomans at the commencement of the Christian era- 
kept six or seven breeds, and Columella " particularly recom- 
mends as the best, those sorts that have five toes and white 
ears." 9 In the fifteenth century several breeds were known 
and described in Europe ; and in China, at nearly the same 
period, seven kinds were named. A more striking case is that 
at present, in one of the Philippine Islands, the semi-barbarous 
inhabitants have distinct native names for no less than nine 
sub-breeds of the Game fowl. 10 Azara, 11 who wrote towards 
the close of the last century, states that in the interior parts 
of South America, where I should not have expected that the 
least care would have been taken of poultry, a black-skinned 
and black-boned breed is kept, from being considered fertile 
and its flesh good for sick persons. Now every one who has 
kept poultry knows how impossible it is to keep several 
breeds distinct unless the utmost care be taken in separating 
the sexes. Will it then be pretended that those persons who, 

8 Ferguson's ' Illustrated Series of of the Domesticated Animals to Civili- 
Rare and Prize Poultry,' 1854, p. vi. zation,' separately printed, p. (5; first 
Preface. read before the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford, 

9 Rev. E. S. Dixon, in his « Orna- 1860. 

mental Poultry,' p. 203, gives an ac- " 'Quadruples du Paraguay,' tern, 

eount of Columella's work. ii. p. 324. 

10 Mr. Crawfurd ' On the Relation 

244 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

in ancient times and in semi-civilized countries took pains to 
keep the breeds distinct, and who therefore valued them, 
would not occasionally have destroyed inferior birds and occa- 
sionally have preserved their best birds ? This is all that is 
required. It is not pretended that any one in ancient times 
intended to form a new breed, or to modify an old breed 
according to some ideal standard of excellence. He who 
cared for poultry would merely wish to obtain, and afterwards 
to rear, the best birds which he could ; but this occasional 
preservation of the best birds would in the course of time 
modify the breed, as surely, though by no means as rapidly, 
as does methodical selection at the present day, If one person 
out of a hundred or out of a thousand attended to the breeding 
of his birds, this would be sufficient ; for the birds thus tended 
would soon become superior to others, and would form a new 
strain ; and this strain would, as explained in the last chapter 
slowly have its characteristic differences augmented, and at 
last be converted into a new sub-breed or breed. But breeds 
would often be for a time neglected and would deteriorate ; 
they would, however, partially retain their character, and 
afterwards might again come into fashion and be raised to a 
standard of perfection higher than their former standard ; as 
has actually occurred quite recently with Polish fowls. If, 
however, a breed were utterly neglected, it would become 
extinct, as has recently happened with one of the Polish sub- 
breeds. Whenever in the course of past centuries a bird 
appeared with some slight abnormal structure, such as with a 
lark-like crest on its head, it would probably often have been 
preserved from that love of novelty which leads some persons 
in England to keep rumpless fowls, and others in India to 
keep frizzled fowls. And after a time any such abnormal 
appearance would be carefully preserved, from being esteemed 
a sign of the purity and excellence of the breed ; for on this 
principle the Romans eighteen centuries ago valued the fifth 
toe and the white ear-lobe in their fowls. 

Thus from the occasional appearance of abnormal 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 correlation of 


growth ; from occasional reversions to old and long-lost 
characters ; from the crossing of breeds, when more than 
one had been formed ; but, above all, from unconscious 
selection carried -on during many generations, there is no 
insuperable difficulty, to the best of my judgment, in believ- 
ing that all the breeds have descended from some one parent- 
source. Can any single species be named from which we 
may reasonably suppose that all are descended ? The Gallus 
bankiva apparently fulfils every requirement. I have already 
given as fair an account as I could of the arguments in 
favour of the multiple origin of the several breeds ; and now 
I will give those in favour of their common descent from 
G. banlciva. 

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

12 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc' 1832, p. red game-hen, and they exhibited the 
151. true character of those of G. sonne- 

13 These feathers have been de- ratii, except that the horny laminae 
scribed by Dr. W. Marshall,' Der Zoolog. were much smaller. 

Garten,' April 1874, p. 124. I ex- M See also an excellent letter on 

amined the feathers of some hybrids the Poultry of India, by Mr. Blyth, 

raised in the Zoological Gardens in 'Gardiner's Chronicle,' 1851, p. 

between the male G. sonneratii and a 619. 

246 FOWLS. Chap. Yll 

more or less infertile. Nearly similar experiments have recently 
been tried on a great scale in the Zoological Gardens with almost 
the same result. 15 Out of 500 eggs, raised from various first crosses 
and hybrids, between G. sonneratii, bankiva, and varius, only 12 
chickens were reared, and of these only three were the product of 
hybrids inter se. From these facts, and from the above-mentioned 
strongly-marked differences in structure between the domestic fowl 
and G. sonneratii, we may reject this latter species as the parent of 
any domestic breed. 

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

Java and the islands eastward as far as Flores are inhabited by 
G. varius (or furcatus), which diners in so many characters — green 
plumage, unserrated comb, and single median wattle — that no one 
supposes it to have been the parent of any one of our breeds ; yet, 
as I am informed by Mr. Crawfurd, 17 hybrids are commonly raised 
between the male G. varius and the common hen, and are kept for 
their great beauty, but are invariably sterile : this, however, was 
not the case with some bred in the Zoological Gardens. These 
hybrids were at one time thought to be specifically distinct, and 
were named G. aineus. Mr. Blyth and others believe that the G. 
temmincMi 18 (of which the history is not known) is a similar hybrid. 
Sir J. Brooke sent me some skins of domestic fowls from Borneo, 
and across the tail of one of these, as Mr. Tegetmeier observed, there 
were transverse blue bands like those which he had seen on the tail- 
feathers of hybrids from G. varius, reared in the Zoological Gardens. 
This fact apparently indicates that some of the fowls of Borneo have 
been slightly affected by crosses with G. varius, but the case may 
possibly be one of analogous variation. I may just allude to the G. 
giyanteus, 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. 

55 Mr. S. J. Salter, in 'Natural p. 113. 
History Review,' April 1863, p. 276. 18 Described by Mr. G. R. Gray, 

16 See also Mr. Layard's paper in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc,' 1849, p. 62. 

* Annals and Mag. of Nat. History,' 19 The passage from Marsden is 

2nd series, vol. xiv. p. 62. given by Mr. Dixon in his ' Poultry 

17 &?calso Mr. Crawfurd's { Descrip- Book,' p. 176. No ornithologist now 
tive Diet, of the Indian Islands,' 1856, ranks this bird as a distinct species. 


The last species to be mentioned, namely, Gallus bankiva, has a 
much wider geographical range than the three previous species ; it 
inhabits Northern India as far west as Sinde, and ascends the 
Himalaya to a height of 4000 ft. ; it inhabits Burmah, the Malay 
peninsula, the Indo-Chinese countries, the Philippine Islands, and 
the Malayan archipelego as far eastward as Timor. This species 
varies considerably in the wild state. Mr. Blyth informs me that 
the specimens, both male and female, brought from near the 
Himalaya, are rather paler coloured than those from other parts of 
India ; whilst those from the Malay peninsula and Java are brighter 
coloured than the Indian birds. I have seen specimens from these 
countries, and the difference of tint in the hackles was conspicuous. 
The Malayan hens were a shade redder on the breast and neck than 
the Indian hens. The Malayan males generally had a red ear-lappet, 
instead of a white one as in India ; but Mr. Blyth has seen one 
Indian specimen without the white ear-lappet. The legs are leaden 
blue in the Indian, whereas they show some tendency to be yellowish 
in the Malayan and Javan specimens. In the former Mr. Blyth 
finds the tarsus remarkably variable in length. According to 
Temminck 20 the Timor specimens differ as a local race from that of 
Java. These several wild varieties have not as yet been ranked as 
distinct species ; if they should, as is not unlikely, be hereafter thus 
ranked, the circumstance would be quite immaterial as far as the 
parentage and differences of our domestic breeds are concerned. 
The wild G. bankiva agrees most closely with the black-breasted 
red Game-breed, in colouring and in all other respects, except in 
being smaller, and in the tail being carried more horizontally. But 
the manner in which the tail is carried is highly variable in many 
of our breeds, for, as Mr. Brent informs me, the tail slopes much in 
the Malays, is erect in the Games and some other breeds, and is 
more than erect in Dorkings, Bantams, &c. There is one other 
difference namely, that in G. bankiva, according to Mr. Blyth, the 
neck-hackles when first moulted are replaced during two or three 
months not by other hackles, as with our domestic poultry, but by 
short blackish feathers. 21 Mr. Brent, however, has remarked that 
these black feathers remain in the wild bird after the development 
of the lower hackles, and appear in the domestic bird at the same 
time with them : so that the only difference is that the lower hackles 
are replaced more slowly in the wild than in the tame bird ; but as 
confinement is known sometimes to affect the masculine plumage, 
this slight difference cannot be considered of any importance. It is 
a significant fact that the voice of both the male and female G. 
bankiva closely resembles, as Mr. Blyth and others have noted, the 
voice of both sexes of the common domestic fowl ; but the last note 
of the crow of the wild bird is rather less prolonged. Captain 

20 'Coup-d'oeil general sur l'lnde 21 Mr. Blyth, in ' Annals and Mag. 

Archipelagique,' torn. iii. (184S), p. of Nat. Hist.,' 2nd ser., vol. i. (1848), 

177 ; see also Mr. Blyth in ' Indian p. 455 
Sporting Review,' vol. ii. p. 5, 1856. 

248 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

Hutton, well known for his researches into the natural history of 
India, informs me that he has seen several crossed fowls from the 
wild species and the Chinese bantam ; these crossed fowls bred freely 
with bantams, but unfortunately were not crossed inter se. Captain 
Hutton reared chickens from the eggs of the G alius 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. Bly th also found much difficulty in 
keeping G. bankiva in confinement. In the Philippine Islands, 
however, the natives must succeed better, as they keep wild cocks 
to fight with their domestic game-birds. 22 Sir Walter Elliot informs 
me that the hen of a native domestic breed of Pegu is undistinguish- 
able from the hen of the wild G. bankiva ; and the natives constantly 
catch wild cocks by taking tame cocks to fight with them in the 
woods. 23 Mr. Crawfurd remarks that from etymology it might be 
argued that the fowl was first domesticated by the Malays and 
Javanese. 24 It is also a curious fact, of which I have been assured 
by Mr. Blyth, that wild specimens of the Gallus bankiva, brought 
from the countries east of the Bay of Bengal, are far more easily 
tamed than those of India; nor is this an unparalleled fact, for, as 
Humboldt long ago remarked, the same species sometimes evinces a 
more tameable disposition in one country than in another. If we 
suppose that the G. bankiva was first tamed in Malaya and afterwards 
imported into India, we can understand an observation made to me 
by Mr. Blyth, that the domestic fowls of India do not resemble the 
wild G. bankiva of India more closely than do those of Europe. 

From the extremely close resemblance in colour, general 
structure, and especially in voice, between Gallus bankiva and 
the Game fowl ; from their fertility, as far as this has been 
ascertained, when crossed ; from the possibility of the wild 
species being tamed, and from its varying in the wild state, 
we may confidently look at it as the parent of the most 
typical of all the domestic breeds, namely, the Game fowl. 
It is a significant fact, that almost all the naturalists in 
India, namely Sir W. Elliot, Mr. S. N. Ward, Mr. Layard, 
Mr. J. C. Jerdon, and Mr. Blyth, 25 who are familiar with 
G. bankiva, believe that it is the parent of most or all our 

22 Crawfurd, ' Desc. Diet, of Indian Journ. of Lit. and Science.' vol. xxii. 
Islands,' 1856, p. 112. p. 2, speaking of G. bankiva, says, " un- 

23 In Burraah, as I hear from Mr. questionably the origin of most of the 
Blyth, the wild and tame poultry con- varieties of our common fowls." For 
stantly cross together, and irregular Mr. Blyth, see his excellent article in 
transitional forms may be seen. 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1851, p. 619; 

24 Ibid. p. 113. and in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 
** Mr. Jerdon, in the ' Madras vol. xx., 1847, p. 388. 

Chap. "VIL 



domestic "breeds. But even if it be admitted that G. banhiva 
is the parent of the Game breed, yet it may be urged that 
other wild species have been the parents of the other domestic 
breeds ; and that these species still exist, though unknown, in 
some country, or have become extinct. The extinction, how- 
ever, of several species of fowls, is an improbable hypothesis, 
seeing that the four known species have not become extinct 
in the most ancient and thickly peopled regions of the East. 
There is, in fact, not one other kind of domesticated bird, 
of which the wild parent-form is unknown, that is become 
extinct. For the discovery of new, or the rediscovery of old 
species of Gallus, we must not look, as fanciers often look, to 
the whole world. The larger gallinaceous birds, as Mr. Blyth 
has remarked, 26 generally have a restricted range : we see 
this well illustrated in India, where the genus Gallus in- 
habits the base of the Himalaya, and is succeeded higher up 
by Gallophasis, and still higher up by Phasianus. Australia, 
with its islands, is out of the question as the home for 
unknown species of the genus. It is, also, as improbable 
that Gallas should inhabit South America 27 as that a 

26 'Gardiner's Chronicle' 1851, p. 

27 I have consulted an eminent 
authority, Mr. Solater, on this subject, 
and he thinks that I have not expressed 
myself too strongly. I am aware that 
one ancient author, Acosta, speaks of 
fowls as having inhabited S. America 
at the period of its discovery ; and 
more recently, about 1795, Olivier de 
Serres speaks of wild fowls in the 
forests of Guiana ; these were probably 
feral birds. Dr. Daniell tells me, he 
believes that fowls have become wild 
on the west coast of Equatorial 
Africa ; they may, however, not be 
true fowls, but gallinaceous birds 
belonging to the genus Phasidus. 
The old voyager Barbut says that 
poultry are not natural to Guinea. 
Capt. W. Alien (' Narrative of Niger 
Expedition,' 1848, vol. ii. p. 42) de- 
scribes wild fowls on Ilha dos Rollas, 
an island near St. Thomas's on the 
west coast of Africa ; the natives in- 


formed him that they had escaped 
from a vessel wrecked there manj 
years ago ; they were extremely wild 
and had "a cry quite different to that 
of the domestic fowl," and their ap- 
pearance was somewhat changed. 
Hence it is not a little doubtful, not- 
withstanding the statement of the 
natives, whether these birds really 
were fowls. That the fowl has 
become feral on several islands is 
certain. Mr. Fry, a very capable 
judge, informed Mr. Layard, in a 
letter, that the fowls which have run 
wild on Ascension " had nearly all got 
back to their primitive colours, red, 
and black cocks, and smoky-grey 
hens." But unfortunately we do not 
know the colour of the poultry which 
were turned out. Fowls have become 
feral on the Nicobar Islands (BJvth 
in the 'Indian Field,' 1858, p. 62), 
and in the Ladrones (Anson's Voyage). 
Those found in the Pellew Islands 
Crawfurd) are believed to be feral 

250 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

humming-bird should be found in the Old World. From the 
character of the other gallinaceous birds of Africa, it is not 
probable that Gallus is an African genus. We need not 
look to the western parts of Asia, for Messrs. Blyth and 
Crawfurd, who have attended to this subject, doubt whether 
Gallus ever existed in a wild state even as far west as Persia. 
Although the earliest Greek writers speak of the fowl as a 
Persian bird, this probably merely indicates its line of 
importation. For the discovery of unknown species we must 
look to India, to the Indo-Chinese countries, and to the 
northern parts of the Malay Archipelago. The southern 
portion of China is the most likely country; but as Mr. 
Blyth informs me, skins have been exported from China 
during a long period, and living birds are largely kept there 
in aviaries, so that any native species of Gallus would pro- 
bably have become known. Mr. Birch, of the British 
Museum, has translated for me passages from a Chinese 
Enc} r clopaedia published in 1609, but compiled from more 
ancient documents, in which it is said that fowls are 
creatures of the West, and were introduced into the -East 
(i.e. China) in a dynasty 1400 B.C. Whatever may be thought 
of so ancient a date, we see that the Indo-Chinese and Indian 
regions were formerly considered by the Chinese as the source 
of the domestic fowl. From these several considerations we 
must look to the present metropolis of the genus, namely, to 
the south-eastern parts of Asia, for the discovery of species 
which were formerly domesticated, but are now unknown in 
the wild state ; and the most experienced ornithologists do 
not consider it probable that such species will be discovered. 
In considering whether the domestic breeds are descended 
from one sjDecies, namely, G. banhiva, or from several, we must 
not quite overlook, though we must not exaggerate, the im- 
portance 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 

and lastly, it is asserted that they but whether this is correct I know 
have become feral in New Zealand, not. 


crossed with each other, or when crossed, with the exception 
of G. banhiva, with the domestic fowl, produce infertile 

Finally, we have not such good evidence with fowls as 
with pigeons, of all the breeds having descended from a 
single primitive stock. In both cases the argument of 
fertility must go for something; in both we have the 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 
with their natural allies, — all being now either unknown or 
extinct, though the parent-form of no other domesticated bird 
has been lost. But in searching for the supposed parent- 
stocks of the various breeds of the pigeon, we were enabled 
to confine our search to species having peculiar habits of life ; 
whilst with fowls there is nothing in their habits in any 
marked manner distinct from those of other gallinaceous 
birds. In the case of pigeons, I have shown that purely- 
bred birds of every race and the crossed offspring of distinct 
races frequently resemble, or revert to, the wild rock-pigeon 
in general colour and in each characteristic mark. With 
fowls we have facts of a similar nature, but less strongly 
pronounced, which we will now discuss. 

Reversion and Analogous Variation. — Purely-bred Game, 
Malaj r , Cochin, Dorking, Bantam, and, as I hear from Mr. 
Tegetmeier, Silk fowls, may frequently or occasionally be 
met with, which are almost identical in plumage with the 
wild G. banhiva. This is a fact well deserving attention, 
when we reflect that these breeds rank amongst the most 
distinct. Fowls thus coloured are called by amateurs black- 
breasted reds. Hamburghs properly have a very different 
plumage ; nevertheless, as Mr. Tegetmeier informs me, " the 
great difficulty in breeding cocks of the golden-spangled 
variety is their tendency to have black breasts and red backs.' 
The males of white Bantams and white Cochins, as they 
come to maturity, often assume a yellowish or saffron tinge ; 
and the longer neck hackles of black Bantam cocks," 28 when 

29 Mr. Hewitt, in 'The Poultry Book,' by W. B. Tegetmeier, 1866, p. 248. 

252 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

two or three years old, not uncommonly become ruddy ; these 
latter Bantams occasionally " even moult brassy-winged, or 
actually red-shouldered." So that in these several cases we 
see a plain tendency to reversion to the hues of G. bankiva, 
even during the lifetime of the individual bird. With 
Spanish, Polish, pencilled Hamburgh, silver-spangled Ham- 
burgh fowls, and with some other less common breeds, I have 
never heard of a black-breasted red bird having appeared. 

From my experience with pigeons, I made the following 
crosses. I first killed all my own poultry, no others living 
near my house, and then procured, by Mr. Tegetmeier"s 
assistance, a first-rate black Spanish cock, and hens of the 
following pure breeds, — white Game, white Cochin, silver- 
spangled Polish, silver-spangled Hamburgh, silver-pencilled 
Hamburgh, and white Silk. In none of these breeds is there 
a trace of red, nor when kept pure have I ever heard of the 
appearance of a red feather; though such an occurrence 
would perhaps not be very improbable with white Games 
and white Cochins. Of the many chickens reared from the 
above six crosses the majority were black, both in the down 
and in the first plumage ; some were white, and a very few 
were mottled black and white. In one lot of eleven mixed 
eggs from the white Game and white Cochin by the black 
Spanish cock, seven of the chickens were white, and only 
four black. I mention this fact to show that whiteness of 
plumage is strongly inherited, and that the belief in the 
prepotent power in the male to transmit his colour is not 
always correct. The chickens were hatched in the spring, 
and in the latter part of August several of the young cocks 
began to exhibit a change, which with some of them increased 
during the following years. Thus a young male bird from 
the silver- spangled Polish hen was in its first plumage coal- 
black, and combined in its comb, crest, wattle, and beard, the 
characters of both parents; but when two years old the 
secondary wing-feathers became largely, and symmetrically 
marked with white, and, wherever in G. bankiva the hackles 
are red, they were in this bird greenish-black along the shaft, 
narrowly bordered with brownish-black, and this again 
broadly bordered with very pale yellowish-brown ; so that in 


general appearance the plumage had become pale-coloured 
instead of black. In this case, with advancing age there 
was a great change, but no reversion to the red colour of 
G. bankiva. 

A cock with a regular rose comb derived either from the 
spangled or pencilled silver Hamburgh was likewise at first 
quite black; but in less than a yeir the neck-hackles, as in 
the last case, became whitish, whilst those on the loins 
assumed a decided reddish-yellow tint ; and here we see the 
first symptom of reversion ; this likewise occurred with some 
other young cocks, which need not here be described. It has 
also been recorded 29 by a breeder, that he crossed two silver- 
pencilled Hamburgh hens with a Spanish cock, and reared a 
number of chickens, all of which were black, the cocks having 
golden and the hens brownish hackles ; so that in this instance 
likewise there was a clear tendency to reversion. 

Two young cocks from my white Game hen were at first 
snow white ; of these, one subsequently assumed pale orange- 
coloured hackles, chiefly on the loins, and the other an 
abundance of fine orange red hackles on the neck, loins, and 
upper wing-coverts. Here again we have a more decided, 
though partial, reversion to the colours of G. bankiva. This 
second cock was in fact coloured like an inferior "pile Game 
cock;" — now this sub-breed can be produced, as I am in- 
formed by Mr. Tegetmeier, by crossing a black-breasted red 
Game cock with a white Game hen, and the " pile " sub- 
breed thus produced can afterwards be truly propagated. So 
that we have the curious fact of the glossy-black Spanish 
cock and the black-breasted red Game cock when crossed 
with white Game hens producing offspring of nearly the 
same colours. 

I reared several birds from the white Silk hen by the 
Spanish cock : all were coal-black, and all plainly showed 
their parentage in having blackish combs and bones; none 
inherited the so-called silky feathers, and the non-inheritance 
of this character has been observed by others. The hens 
uever varied in their plumage. As the young cocks grew 

29 'Journal of Horticulture,' Jan. Uth, 1862, p. 325. 

254 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

old, one of them assumed yellowish-white hackles, and thus 
resembled in a considerable degree the cross from the Ham- 
burgh hen; the other became a gorgeous bird, so much so 
that an acquaintance had it preserved and stuffed simply from 
its beauty. When stalking about it closely resembled the 
wild Gallus bankiva, but with the red feathers rather darker. 
On close comparison one considerable difference presented 
itself, namely, that the primary and secondary wing-feathers 
were edged with greenish-black, instead of being edged, as in 
G. bankiva, with fulvous and red tints. The space, also, 
across the back, which bears dark-green feathers, was broader, 
and the comb was blackish. In all other respects, even in 
trifling details of plumage, there was the closest accordance. 
Altogether it was a marvellous sight to compare this bird 
first with G. bankiva, and then with its father, the glossy 
green-black Spanish cock, and with its diminutive mother, 
the white Silk hen. This case of reversion is the more ex- 
traordinary as the Spanish breed has long been known to 
breed true, and no instance is on record of its throwing a 
single red feather. The Silk hen likewise breeds true, and 
is believed to be ancient, for Aldrovandi, before 1600, alludes 
probably to this breed, and described it as covered with wool. 
It is so peculiar in many characters that some writers have 
considered it as specifically distinct ; yet, as we now see, 
when crossed with the Spanish fowl, it yields offspring 
closely resembling the wild G. bankiva. 

Mr. Tegetmeier has been so kind as to repeat, at my 
request, the cross between a Spanish cock and Silk hen, and 
he obtained similar results ; for he thus raised, besides a 
black hen, seven cocks, all of which were dark bodied with 
more or less orange-red hackles. In the ensuing year he 
paired the black hen with one of her brothers, and raised 
three young cocks, all coloured like their father, and a black 
hen mottled with white. 

The hens from the six above-described crosses showed 
hardly any tendency to revert to the mottled- brown plumage 
of the female G. bankiva : one hen, however, from the white 
Cochin, which was at first coal-black, became slightly brown 
or sooty. Several hens, which were for a long time snow- 


white, acquired as they grew old a few black feathers. A 
hen from the white G ame, 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 longi- 
tudinal 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. K. Orton, in our climate ; that is, it reverts 
to the ordinary colour of the common fowl in its skin and 
bones, due care having been taken to prevent any cross. In 
Germany 30 a distinct breed with black bones, and with 
black, not silky plumage, has likewise been observed to 

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, 

30 « Die Hiihner- und Pfaueuzucht,' W. B. Tegetmeier, 1866, p. 222. I am 

Ulm, 1827, s. 17. For Mr. Hewitt's indebted to Mr. Orton for a letter on 

statement with respect to the white the same subject. 
Silk fowl, see the ' Poultry Book,' by 

256 FOWLS. Chap. VII 

with the mottling partially and obscurely arranged in trans- 
verse lines. But the tendency to pencilling is probably 
much strengthened by the law of analogous variation, for the 
hens of some other species of Gallus are more plainly pencilled, 
and the hens of many gallinaceous birds belonging to other 
genera, as the partridge, have pencilled feathers. ' Mr. Teget- 
meier has also remarked to me that, although with domestic 
pigeons we have so great a diversity of colouring, we never 
see either pencilled or spangled feathers ; and this fact is 
intelligible on the law of analogous variation, as neither the 
wild rock pigeon nor any closely allied species has such 
feathers. The frequent appearance of pencilling in crossed 
birds probably accounts for the existence of " cuckoo " sub- 
breeds in the Game, Polish, Dorking, Cochin, Andalusian, 
and Bantam breeds. The plumage of these birds is slaty- 
blue or grey, with each feather transversely barred with 
darker lines, so as to resemble in some degree the plumage 
of the cuckoo. It is a singular fact, considering that the 
male of no species of Gallus is in the least barred, that the 
cuckoo-like plumage has often been transferred to the male, 
more especially in the cuckoo Dorking ; and the fact is all the 
more singular, as in gold- and silver-pencilled Hamburghs, 
in which pencilling is characteristic of the breed, the male is 
hardly at all pencilled, this kind of plumage being confined to 
the female. 

Another case of analogous variation is the occurrence of 
spangled sub-breeds of Hamburgh, Polish, Malay, and Bantam 
fowls. Spangled feathers have a dark mark, properly crescent- 
shaped, on their tips ; whilst pencilled feathers have several 
transverse bars. The spangling cannot be due to reversion to 
G. banhira ; nor does it often follow, as I hear from Mr. Teget- 
meier, from crossing distinct breeds; but it is a case of 
analogous variation, for many gallinaceous birds have spangled 
feathers, — for instance, the common pheasant. Hence spangled 
breeds are often called " pheasant "-fowls. Another case of 
analogous variation in several domestic breeds is inexplicable ; 
it is, that the chickens, whilst covered with down, of the 
black Spanish, black Game, black Polish, and black Bantam, 
all have white throats and breasts, and often have some white 


on their wings. 31 The editor of the ' Poultry Chronicle ' 32 
remarks that all the breeds which properly have red ear- 
lappets occasionally produce birds with white ear-lappets. 
This remark more especially applies to the Game breed, 
which of all comes nearest to the G. bankiva ; and we have 
seen that with this species living in a state of nature, the 
ear-lappets vary in colour, being red in the Malayan countries, 
and generally, but not invariably, white in India. 

In concluding this part of my subject, I may repeat 
that there exists one widely-ranging, varying, and common 
species of Gallus, namely, G. bankiva, which can be tamed, 
produces fertile offspring when crossed with common fowls, 
and closely resembles in its whole structure, plumage, and 
voice the Game breed ; hence it may be safely ranked as the 
parent of this, the most typical domesticated breed. We 
have seen that there is much difficulty in believing that 
other, now unknown, sjjecies have been the parents of the 
other domestic breeds. We know that all the breeds are 
most closely allied, as shown by their similarity in most 
points of structure and in habits, and by the analogous 
manner in which they vary. We have also seen that several 
of the most distinct breeds occasionally or habitually closely 
resemble in plumage G. bankiva, and that the crossed offspring 
of other breeds, which are not thus coloured, show a stronger 
or weaker tendency to revert to this same plumage. Some of 
the breeds, which appear the most distinct and the least likely 
to have proceeded from G. bankiva, such as Polish fowls, with 
their protuberant and little ossified skulls, and Cochins, with 
their imperfect tail and small wings, bear in these characters 
the plain marks of their artificial origin. We know well that 
of late years methodical selection has greatly improved and 
fixed many characters ; and we have every reason to believe 
that unconscious selection, carried on for many generations, 
will have steadily augmented each new peculiarity, and thus 
have given rise to new breeds. As soon as two or three 
breeds were once formed, crossing would come into play in 

31 Dixon, l Ornamental and Do- ' Prize Poultry,' p. 260. 
mestic Poultry,' pp. 253, 324, 335. 32 ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. ii. 

For game fowls, see Ferguson on 71. 

258 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

changing their character and in increasing their number. 
Brahma Pootras, according to an account lately published in 
America, offer a good instance of a breed, lately formed by 
a cross, which can be truly propagated. The well-known 
Sebright Bantams offer another and similar instance. Hence 
it may be concluded that not only the Game-breed but that 
all our breeds are probably the descendants of the Malayan 
or Indian variety of G. bankiva. If so, this species has varied 
greatly since it was first domesticated ; but there has been 
ample time, as we shall now show. 

History of the Fowl. — Rutimeyer found no remains of the 
fowl in the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings ; but, according to 
Jeitteles, 33 such have certainly since been found associated 
with extinct animals and prehistoric remains. It is, there- 
fore a strange fact that the fowl is not mentioned in the Old 
Testament, nor figured on the ancient Egyptian monuments. 
It is not referred to by Homer or Hesiod (about 900 B.C.) ; 
but is mentioned by Theognis and Aristophanes between 
400 and 500 B.C. It is figured on some of the Babylonian 
cylinders, between the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., of 
which Mr. Layard sent me an impression ; and on the Harpy 
Tomb in Lycia, about 600 B.C. : so that the fowl apj)arently 
reached Europe in a domesticated condition somewhere about 
the sixth centurv B.C. It had travelled still farther westward 
by the time of the Christian .era, for it was found in Britain 

33 c Die vorgeschichtlichen Alter- aversion. The natives of the Pellew 

thiimer,' II. Theil, 1872, p. 5. Dr. Islands would not eat the fowl, nor will 

Pickering, in his ' Races of Man,' the Indians in some parts of S. 

1850, p. 374, says that the head and America. For the ancient history of 

neck of a fowl is carried in a Tribute- the fowl, see also Volz, ' Beitr'age zur 

procession to Thoutmousis III. (1445 Culturgeschichte,' 1852, s. 77; and 

B.C.) ; but Mr. Birch of the British Isid. Geoftroy St.-Hilaire, ' Hist. Nat 

Museum doubts whether the figure Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 61. Mr. Crawfurd 

can be identified as the head of a has given an admirable history of the 

fowl. Some caution is necessary with fowl in his paper ' On the Relation 

reference to the absence of figures of Domesticated Animals to Civilisa- 

of the fowl on the ancient Egyptian tion,' read before the Brit. Assoc, at 

monuments, on account of the strong Oxford in 1860, and since printed 

and widely prevalent prejudice against separately: I quote from him on the 

this bird. I am informed by the Greek poet Theognis, and on the 

Rev. S. Erhardt that on the east coast Harpy Tomb described by Sir C. 

of Africa, from 4° to 6° south of the Fellowes. I quote from a letter of 

equator, most of the pagan tribes at Mr. Blyth's u-ith respect to the Insti- 

the present day hold the fowl ir. tu^s of Manu. 


by Julius Caesar. In India it must have been domesticated 
when the Institutes of Manu were written, that is, according 
to Sir W. Jones, 1200 B.C., but, according to the later authority 
of Mr. H. Wilson, only 800 B.C., for the domestic fowl is 
forbidden, whilst the wild is permitted to be eaten. If, as 
before remarked, we may trust the old Chinese Encyclopaedia, 
the fowl must have been domesticated several centuries 
earlier, as it is said to have been introduced from the West 
into China 1400 B.C. 

Sufficient materials do not exist for tracing the history 
of the separate breeds. About the commencement of the 
Christian era, Columella mentions a five-toed fighting breed, 
and some provincial breeds ; but we know nothing about 
them. He also alludes to dwarf fowls ; but these cannot 
have been the same with our Bantams, which, as Mr. 
Crawfurd has shown, were imported from Japan into Bantam 
in Java. A dwarf fowl, probably the true Bantam, is re- 
ferred to in an old Japanese Encyclopaedia, as I am informed 
by Mr. Birch. In the Chinese Encyclopaedia published in 
1596, but compiled from various sources, some of high 
antiquity, seven breeds are mentioned, including what we 
should now call Jumpers or Creepers, and likewise fowls with 
black feathers, bones, and flesh. In 1600 Aldrovandi de- 
scribes 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 G alius turcicus certainly seems to be a 
pencilled Hamburgh ; but Mr. Brent, a most capable judge, 
thinks that Aldrovandi " evidently figured what he happened 
to see, and not the best of the breed." Mr. Brent, indeed, 
considers all Aldrovandi's fowls as of impure breed ; but it is 
a far more probable view that all our breeds have been much 
improved and modified since his time ; for, as he went to the 
expense of so many figures, he probably would have secured 
characteristic specimens. The Silk fowl, however, probably 
then existed in its present state, as did almost certainly the 
fowl with frizzled or reversed feathers. Mr. Dixon 34 considers 

34 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poul- 312. For Golden Hamburghs, see 
try,' 18i7, p. 185 ; for passages Aloin's ' Natural History of Birds,' 
translated from Columella, see p. 3 vols., with plates 1731-38. 

260 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

Aldrovandi's Paduan fowl as " a variety of the Polisli," 
whereas Mr. Brent believes it to have been more nearly allied 
to the Malay. The anatomical peculiarities of the skull of the 
Polish breed were noticed by P. Borelli in 1656. I may add 
that in 1737 one Polish sub-breed, viz., the Golden-spangled, 
was known ; but judging from Albin's description, the comb 
was then larger, the crest of feathers much smaller, the breast 
more coarsely spotted, and the stomach and thighs much 
blacker : a Golden-spangled Polish fowl in this condition 
would now be of no value. 

Differences in external and Internal Structure between the 
Breeds : Individual Variability. — Fowls have been exposed to 
diversified conditions of life, and as we have just seen there 
has been ample time for much variability and for the slow 
action of unconscious selection. As there are good grounds 
for believing that all the breeds are descended from Gallus 
bankiva, it will be worth while to describe in some detail the 
chief points of difference. Beginning with the eggs and 
chickens, I will pass on to their secondary sexual characters, 
and then to their differences in external structure and in the 
skeleton. I enter on the following details chiefly to show 
how variable almost every character has become under 

Eggs. — Mr. Dixon remarks 35 that "to every hen belongs an 
individual peculiarity in the form, colour, and size of her egg, which 
never changes during her life-time, so long as she remains in 
health, and which is as well known to those who are in the habit of 
taking her produce, as the hand-writing of their nearest acquain- 
tance." 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 re- 
cognised. 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 

35 ' Ornamental and Domestic Poul- informed, cannot generally be trusted, 
try,' p. 152. He gives, however, figures and much 

36 Ferguson on ' Rare Prize Poll- information on eggs. See pp. 34 and 
try,' p. 297 This writer, I am 235 on the eggs of the Game fowl. 



vary considerably in character ; for instance, Mr. Ballance states 87 
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 wero 
as white as a Spanish hen's egg, and others varied from a light cream- 
colour to a deep rich buff, or even to a brown." The shape also 
varies, the two ends being much more equally rounded in Cochins 
than in Games or Polish. Spanish fowls lay smoother eggs than 
Cochins, of which the eggs are generally granulated. The shell in 
this latter breed, and more especially in Malays is apt to be thicker 
than in Games or Spanish ; but the Minorcas, a sub-breed of Spanish, 
are said to lay harder eggs than true Spanish. 38 Tbe colour di tiers 
considerably, — the Cochins laying buff-coloured eggs ; the Malays a 
paler variable buff; and Games a still paler buff. It would appear 
that darker-coloured eggs characterise the breeds which have lately 
come from the East, or are still closely allied to those now living 
there. The colour of the yolk, according to Ferguson, as well as of 
the shell, differs slightly in the sub-breeds of the Game. I am 
also informed by Mr. Brent that dark partridge-coloured Cochin 
hens lay darker coloured eggs than the other Cochin sub-breeds. 
The flavour and richness of the egg certainly differ in different 
breeds. The productiveness of the several breeds is very different. 
Spanish, Polish, and Hamburgh hens have lost the incubating 

Chickens. — As the young of almost all gallinaceous birds, even of 
the black curassow and black grouse, whilst covered with down, are 
longitudinally striped on the back, — of which character, when adult, 
neither sex retains a trace, — it might have been expected that the 
chickens of all our domestic fowls would have been similarly 
striped. 39 This could, however, hardly have been expected, when 
the adult plumage in both sexes has undergone so great a change 
as to be wholly white or black. In white fowls of various breeds the 
chickens are uniformly yellowish white, passing in the black-boned 
Silk fowl into bright canary-yellow. This is also generally the 
case with the chickens of white Cochins, but I hear from Mr. Zurhost 
that they are sometimes of a buff or oak colour, and that all those 
of this latter colour, which were watched, turned out males. The 
chickens of buff Cochins are of a golden-yellow, easily distinguishable 
from the paler tint of the white Cochins, and are often longitudinally 

37 See 'Poultry Book,' by Mr. 
Tegetmeier, 1866, pp. 81 and 78. 

38 'The Cottage Gardener,' Oct. 
1855, p. 13. On the thinness of the 
eggs of Game-fowls, see Mowbray on 
Poultry, 7th edit., p. 13. 

39 My information, which is very 
far from perfect, on chickens in the 
down, is derived chiefly from Mr. 

Dixon's ' Ornamental and Domestic 
Poultry.' Mr. B. P. Brent has also 
communicated to me many facts by 
letter, as has Mr. Tegetmeier. I will 
in each case mark my authority by 
the name within brackets. For the 
chickens of white Silk-fowls, see 
Tegetmeier's 'Poultry Book,' 1866, p. 

262 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

streaked with dark shades: the chickens of silver-cinnamon 
Cochins are almost always of a biuT 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 longitudiual stripes. Fowls which are entirely black, namely, 
Spanish, black Game, black Polish, and black Bantams, display a 
new character, for their chickens have their breasts and throats 
more or less white, with sometimes a little white elsewhere. 
Spanish chickens also, occasionally (Brent), have, where the down 
was white, their first true feathers tipped for a time with white. 
The primordially striped character is retained by the chickens of 
most of the Game sub-breeds (Brent, Dixon) ; by Dorkings ; by the 
partridge and grouse-coloured sub-breeds of Cochins (Brent), but 
not, as we have seen, by the sub-breeds; by the pheasant- Malay 
(Dixon), but apparently not (at which I am much surprised) by 
other Malays. The following breeds and sub-breeds are barely, or 
not at all, longitudinally striped: viz., gold and silver pencilled 
Hamburghs, which can hardly be distinguished from each other 
(Brent) in the down, both having a few dark spots on the head and 
rump, with occasionally a longitudinal stripe (Dixon) on the back of 
the neck. I have seen only one chicken of the silver-spangled 
Hamburgh, and this was obscurely striped along the back. Gold- 
spangled Polish chickens (Tegetmeier) are of a warm russet brown ; 
and silver-spangled Polish chickens are grey, sometimes (Dixon) 
with dashes of ochre on the head, wings, and breast. Cuckoo and 
blue-dun fowls (Dixon) are grey in the down. The chickens of 
Sebright Bantams (Dixon) are uniformly dark brown, whilst those 
of the brown-breasted red Game Bantam are black, with some white 
on the throat and breast. From these facts we see that young 
chickens of the different breeds, and even of the same main breed, 
differ much in their downy plumage; and, although longitudinal 
stripes characterise the young of all wild gallinaceous birds, they 
disappear in several domestic breeds. Perhaps it may be accepted 
as a general rule that the more the adult plumage differs from that 
of the adult G. bankiva, the more completely the chickens have 
lost their stripes. 

With respect to the period of life at which the characters 
proper to each breed first appear, it is obvious that such 
structures as additional toes must be formed long before birth. 
In Polish fowls, the extraordinary protuberance of the anterior 
part of the skull is well developed before the chickens come 
out of the egg ; 40 but the crest, which is supported on the 
protuberance, is at first feebly developed, nor does it attain 

40 As I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier ; crest, see ' Poulti-y Chroni.^e,' vol 
see also ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc' 1556, p. ii. p. 132. 
366. On the late development of the 


its full size until the second year. The Spanish cock is pre- 
eminent for his magnificent comb, and this is developed at 
an unusually early age; so that the young males can be 
distinguished from the females when only a few weeks old, 
and therefore earlier than in other breeds ; they likewise 
crow very early, namely, when about six weeks old. In the 
Dutch sub-breed of the Spanish fowl the white ear-lap pets 
are developed earlier than in the common Spanish breed. 41 
Cochins are characterised by a small tail, and in the young 
cocks the tail is developed at an unusually late period. 42 
Game fowls are notorious for their pugnacity ; and the young 
cocks crow, clap their little wings, and fight obstinately with 
each other, even whilst under their mother's care. 43 " I have 
often had," says one author, 44 " whole broods, scarcely 
feathered, stone blind from fighting ; the rival couples moping 
in corners, and renewing their battles on obtaining the first 
ray of light." The weapons and pugnacity of all male gallina- 
ceous birds evidently serve the purpose of gaining possession of 
the females ; so that the tendency in our Game chickens to fight 
at an extremely early age is not only useless, but injurious, 
as they suffer much from their wounds. The training for 
battle during an early age may be natural to the wild Gallus 
bankica; but as man during many generations has gone on 
selecting the most obstinately pugnacious cocks, it is more 
probable that their pugnacity has been unnaturally increased, 
and unnaturally transferred to the young male chickens. In 
the same manner, it is probable that the extraordinary de- 
velopment of the comb in the Spanish cock has been un- 
intentionally transferred to the young cocks; for fanciers 
would not care whether their young birds had large combs, 
but would select for breeding the adults which had the finest 
combs, whether or not developed at an early period. The 
last point which need here be noticed is that, though the 
chickens of Spanish and Malay fowls are well covered with 
down, the true feathers are acquired at an unusually late age; 

41 On these points, see 'Poultry tic Poultry,' p. 273. 

Chronicle,' vol. iii. p. 166; and Teget- 43 Ferguson on Rare and Priae 

meier's ' Poultry Book,' 1866, pp. 105 Poultry, p. 261. 

ind 121. 44 Mowbray on Poultry, 7th edit. 

42 Dixon ' Ornamental and Domes- 1834, p 13. 

261 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

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 pauent- 
form, the Gallus bankiva, differs much in colour. In our 
domestic breeds the difference is never greater, but is often 
less, and varies much in degree even in the sub-breeds of the 
same main breed. Thus in certain Game fowls the difference 
is as great as in the parent-form, whilst in the black and 
white sub-breeds there is no difference in plumage. Mr. Brent 
informs me that he has seen two strains of black-breasted red 
Games, of which the cocks could not be distinguished, whilst 
the hens in one were partridge-brown and in the other fawn- 
brown. A similar case has been observed in the strains of 
the brown-breasted red Game. The hen of the " duck-winged 
Game " is " extremely beautiful," and differs much from the 
hens of all the other Game sub-breeds ; but generally, as with 
the blue and grey Game and with some sub- varieties of the 
pile-game, a moderately close relation may be observed 
between the males and females in the variation of their 
plumage. 45 A similar relation is also evident when we com- 
pare the several varieties of Cochins. In the two sexes of 
gold and silver-spangled and of buff Polish fowls, there is 
much general similarity in the colouring and marks of the 
whole plumage, excepting of course in the hackles, crest, and 
beard. In spangled Hamburghs, there is likewise a con- 
siderable degree of similarity between the two sexes. In 
pencilled Hamburghs, on the other hand, there is much dis- 
similarity ; the pencilling which is characteristic of the hens 
being almost absent in the males of both the golden and 
silver varieties. But, as we have already seen, it cannot be 
given as a general rule that male fowls never have pencilled 
feathers, for Cuckoo Dorkings are " remarkable from having 
nearly similar markings in both sexes." 

It is a singular fact that the males in certain sub-breeds 
have lost some of their secondary masculine characters, and 
from their close resemblage in plumage to the females, are 
often called hennies. There is much diversity of opinion 
whether these males are in any degree sterile ; that they some- 

45 See the full description of the meier's ' Poultry Book,' 1866, p. 131 
varieties of the Game-breed, in Teget- For Cuckoo Dorkings, p. 9/. 


times are partially sterile seems clear, 46 "but this may have 
been caused by too close interbreeding. That they are not 
quite sterile, and that the whole case is widely different from 
that of old females assuming masculine characters, is evident 
from several of these hen-like sub-breeds having been long 
propagated. The males and females of gold and silver-laced 
Sebright Bantams can be barely distinguished from each 
other, except by their combs, wattles, and spurs, for they are 
coloured alike, and the males have not hackles, nor the 
flowing sickle like tail-feathers. A hen-tailed sub-breed of 
Hamburghs was recently much esteemed. There is also a 
breed of Game-fowls, in which the males and females resemble 
each other so closely that the cocks have often mistaken their 
hen feathered opponents in the cock-pit for real hens, and by 
the mistake have lost their lives. 47 The cocks, though 
dressed in the feathers of the hen, " are high-spirited birds, 
and their courage has been often proved : " an engraving 
even has been published of one celebrated hen-tailed victor. 
Mr. Tegetmeier 48 has recorded the remarkable case of a 
brown-breasted red Game cock which, after assuming its 
perfect masculine plumage, became hen-feathered in the 
autumn of the following year; but he did not lose voice, 
spurs, strength, nor productiveness. This bird has now 
retained the same character during five seasons, and has 
begot both hen-feathered and male-feathered offspring. Mr. 
Grantley F. Berkeley relates the still more singular case of a 
celebrated strain of " polecat Game fowls," which produced in 
nearly every brood a single hen-cock. " The great peculiarity 
in one of these birds was that he, as the seasons succeeded 
each other, was not always a hen-cock, and not always of the 
colour called the polecat, which is black. From the polecat 
and hen-cock feather in one season he moulted to a full male- 
plumaged black-breasted red, and in the following year he 
returned to the former feather." 49 

46 Mr. Hewitt in Tegetmeier's a-dozen cocks thus sacrificed. 
'Poultry Book,' 1866, pp. 246 and 48 'Proceedings of Zoolog. Soc. 5 
156. For hen-tailed game-cocks, see March, 1861, p. 102. The engraving 
p. 131. of the hen-tailed cock just alluded to 

47 'The Field,' April 20th, 1861. was exhibited before the Society. 
The writer says he has seen half- 49 'The Field,' April 20th, 1861. 

266 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

I have remarked in my ' Origin of Species ' that secondary 
sexual characters are apt to differ much in the species of the 
same genus, and to be unusually variable in the individuals 
of the same species. So it is with the breeds of the fowl, as 
we have already seen, as far as the colour of plumage is con- 
cerned, and so it is with the other secondary sexual characters. 
Firstly, the comb differs much in the various breeds, 50 and its 
form is eminently characteristic of each kind, with the 
exception of the Dorkings, in which the form has not been as 
yet determined on by fanciers, and fixed by selection. A single, 
deeply- serrated comb is the typical and most common form. 
It differs much in size, being immensely developed in Spanish 
fowls ; and in a local breed called Red-caps, it is sometimes 
" upwards of three inches in breadth at the front, and more 
than four inches in length, measured to the end of the peak 
behind." 51 In some breeds the comb is double, and when the 
two ends are cemented together it forms a " cup-cornb ; " in 
the "rose comb" it is depressed, covered with small pro- 
jections, and produced backwards ; in the horned and creve- 
coeur fowl it is produced into two horns ; it is triple in the 
pea-combed Brahmas, short and truncated in the Malays, 
and absent in the Guelderlands. In the tasselled Game a few 
long feathers rise from the back of the comb : in many breeds 
a crest of feathers replaces the comb. The crest, when little 
developed, arises from a fleshy mass, but, when much deve- 
loped, from a hemispherical protuberance of the skull. In 
the best Polish fowls it is so largely developed, that I have 
seen birds which could hardly pick up their food; and a 
German writer asserts 52 that they are in consequence liable 
to be struck by hawks. Monstrous structures of this kind 
would thus be suppressed in a state of nature. The wattles, 
also, vary much in size, being small in Malays and some 
other breeds ; in certain Polish sub-breeds they are replaced 
by a great tuft of feathers called a beard. 

The hackles do not differ much in the various breeds, but 

30 I am much indebted to Mr. Brent 51 The ' Poultry Book,' by Teget- 

for an account, with sketches, of all meier, 1866, p. 234. 

the variations of the comb known to 32 ' Die Hiihner- and Pfauenzucht,' 

him, and likewise with respect to the 1827, s. 11. 

I ail as presently to be given. 


are sliort and stiff in Malays, and absent in Kennies. As in 
some orders male birds display extraordinarily-shaped feathers, 
such as naked shafts with discs at the end, &c, the following 
case may be worth giving. In the wild Gallus bankiva and in 
our domestic fowls, the barbs which arise from each side of 
the extremities of the hackles are naked or not clothed with 
barbules, so that they resemble bristles ; but Mr. Brent sent 
me some scapular hackles from a young Birchen Duckwing 
Game cock, in which the naked barbs became densely re- 
clothed with barbules towards their tips ; so that these tips, 
which were dark coloured with a metallic lustre, were sepa- 
rated from the lower parts by a symmetrically-shaped trans- 
parent zone formed of the naked portions of the barbs. Hence 
the coloured tips appeared like little separate metallic discs. 

The sickle-feathers in the tail, of which there are three 
pair, and which are eminently characteristic of the male sex, 
differ much in the various breeds. They are scimitar-shaped 
in some Hamburghs, instead of being long and flowing as in 
the typical breeds. They are extremely short in Cochins, 
and are not at all developed in Hennies. They are carried, 
together with the whole tail, erect in Dorkings and Games ; 
but droop much in Malays and in some Cochins. Sultans are 
characterised by an additional number of lateral sickle- 
feathers. The spurs vary much, being placed higher or lower 
on the shank ; being extremely long and sharp in Games, and 
blunt and short in Cochins. These latter birds seem aware 
that their spurs are not efficient weapons ; for though they 
occasionally use them, they more frequently fight, as I am 
informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, by seizing and shaking each 
other with their beaks In some Indian Game cocks, received 
by Mr. Brent from Germany, there are, as he informs me, 
three, four, or even five spurs on each leg. Some Dorkings 
also have two spurs on each leg ; 53 and in birds of this breed 
the spur is often placed almost on the outside of the leg. 
Double spurs are mentioned in an ancient Chinese Ency- 
clopaedia. Their occurrence may be considered as a case of 

53 'Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i. p. position of the spurs in Dorkings, see 
&9b. Mr. Brent has informed me of 'Cottage Gardener,' Sept. 18th, I860, 
lho same tact. With respect to the p. 380. 

268 FOWLS. Chap. VIL 

analogous variation, for some wild gallinaceous birds, for 
instance, the Polyplectron, have double spurs. 

Judging from the differences which generally distinguish 
the sexes in the Gallinaceas, certain characters in our domestic 
fowls appear to have been transferred from the one sex to the 
other. In all the species (except in Turnix), when there is 
any conspicuous difference in plumage between the male and 
female, the male is always the most beautiful ; but in golden- 
spangled Hamburghs the hen is equally beautiful with the 
cock, and incomparably more beautiful than the hen in any 
natural species of G alius ; so that here a masculine character 
has been transferred to the female. On the other hand, in 
Cuckoo Dorkings and in other cuckoo breeds the pencilling, 
which in Gallus is a female attribute, has been transferred 
to the male : nor, on the principle of analogous variation, is 
this transference surprising, as the males in many gallinaceous 
genera are barred or pencilled. With most of these birds 
head ornaments of all kinds are more fully developed in the 
male than in the female ; but in Polish fowls the crest or 
top knot, which in the male replaces the comb, is equally 
developed in both sexes. In the males of certain other sub- 
breeds, which from the hen having a small crest, are called 
lark-crested, " a single upright comb sometimes almost en- 
tirely takes the place of the crest." 54 From this latter case, 
and more especially from some facts presently to be given 
with respect to the protuberance of the skull in Polish 
fowls, the crest in this breed must be viewed as a feminine 
character which has been transferred to the male. In the 
Spanish breed the male, as we know, has an immense comb, 
and this has been partially transferred to the female, for her 
comb is unusually large, though not upright. In Game 
fowls the bold and savage disposition of the male has like- 
wise been largely transferred to the female ; 55 and she some- 
times even possesses the eminently masculine character of 
spurs. Many cases are on record of fertile hens being furnished 

54 Dixon, ' Ornamental and Domes- bative, that it is now generally the 
tic Poultry,' p. 320. practice to exhibit each hm in a 

55 Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that separate pen. 
Game hens have been foun* 4 so com- 


with spurs ; and in Germany, according to Bechstein, 56 the 
spurs in the Silk hen are sometimes very long. He mentions 
also another breed similarly characterised, in which the hens 
are excellent layers, but are apt to disturb and break their 
eggs owing to their spurs. 

Mr. Layard 57 has given an account of a breed of fowls in 
Ceylon with black skin, bones, and wattle, but with ordinary 
feathers, and which cannot " be more aptly described than by 
comparing them to a white fowl drawn down a sooty chimney ; 
it is, however," adds Mr. Layard, " a remarkable fact that a 
male bird of the pure sooty variety is almost as rare as a 
tortoise-shell tom-cat." Mr. Blyth found the same rule to 
hold good with this breed near Calcutta. The males and 
females, on the other hand, of the black-boned European 
breed, with silky feathers, do not differ from each other; so 
that in the one breed, black skin and bones and the same 
kind of plumage are common* to both sexes, whilst in the other 
breed, these characters are confined to the female sex. 

At the present day all the breeds of Polish fowls have the 
great bony protuberance on their skulls, which includes part 
of the brain and supports the crest, equally developed in both 
sexes. But formerly in Germany the skull of the hen alone 
was protuberant : Blumenbach, 58 who particularly attended 
to abnormal peculiarities in domestic animals, states, in 1805, 
that this was the case ; and Bechstein had previously, in 
1793, observed the same fact. This latter author has care- 
fully described the effects on the skull of a crest not only in 
the case of fowls, but of ducks, geese, and canaries. He states 
that with fowls, when the crest is not much developed, it is 
supported on a fatty mass ; but when much developed, it is 
always supported on a bony protuberance of variable size. 

56 ' Naturgeschichte Deutschlauds,' count, has disputed the accuracy of 
Band iii. (1703), s. 3S9, 407. Blumenbach's statement. For Bech- 

57 On the Ornithologv of Ceylon in stein, sec ' Naturgeschichte Deutsch- 
' Annals and Mag. of Nat. History.' lands,' Band iii. (1793), s. 399, note. I 
2nd series, vol. xiv. (1854), p. 63. may add that at the first exhibition of 

58 ' Handbuch der vergleich. Ana- Poultry at the Zoological Gardens, in 
tomie,' 1805, p. 85, note. Mr. Teget- May, 1845, I saw some fowls, called 
meier, who gives in ' Proc. Zoolog. Friezland fowls, of which the hens 
Soc.,' Nov. 25th, 1856, a very interest- were crested, and the cocks furnished 
ing account of the skulls of Polish with a comb, 

lowls, not knowing of Bechstein's ac- 

270 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

He well describes the peculiarities of this protuberance ; he 
attended also to the effects of the modified shape of the brain 
on the intellect of these birds, and disputes Pallas' statement 
that they are stupid. He then expressly remarks that he 
never observed this protuberance in male fowls. Hence there 
can be no doubt that this extraordinary character in the skulls 
of Polish fowls was formerly in Germany confined to the 
female sex, but has now been transferred to the males, and 
has thus become common to both sexes. 

External Differences, not connected with the Sexes, between the 
Breeds and between individual Birds. 

The size of the body differs greatly. Mr. Tegetmeier has known 
a Brahma to weigh 17 pounds; a fine Malay cock 10 pounds; whilst 
a first-rate Sebright Bantam weighs hardly more than 1 pound. 
DuriDg the last 20 years the size of some of our breeds has been 
largely increased by methodical selection, whilst that of other breeds 
has been much diminished. We Have already seen how greatly 
colour varies even within the same breed; we know that the wild 
G. bankiva varies slightly in colour ; we know that colour is variable 
in all our domestic animals ; nevertheless some eminent fanciers 
have so little faith in variability, that they have actually argued 
that the chief Game sub-breeds, which differ from ench other in 
nothing but colour, are descended from distinct wild species! 
Crossing often causes strange modification of colour. Mr. Tegetmeier 
informs me that when buff and white Cochins are crossed, some of 
the chickens are almost invariably black. According to Mr. Brent, 
black and white Cochins occasionally produce chickens of a slaty- 
blue tint ; and this same tint results, as Mr. Tegetmeier tells me, 
from crossing white Cochins with black Spanish fowls, or white 
Dorkings with black Minorcas. 59 A good observer 60 states that a 
first-rate silver-spangled Hamburgh hen gradually lost the most 
characteristic qualities of the breed, for the black lacing to her 
feathers disappeared, and her legs changed from leaden-blue to white : 
but what makes the case remarkable is, that this tendency ran in the 
blood for her sister changed in a similar but less strongly marked 
manner ; and chickens produced from this latter hen were at first 
almost pure white, "but on moulting acquired black colours and 
some spangled feathers with almost obliterated markings ;" so that 
a new variety arose in this singular mauner. The skin in the 
different breeds differs much in colour, being white in common kinds, 
yellow in Malays and Cochins, and black in Silk fowls ; thus mocking, 

59 ' Cottage Gardener,' Jan. 3rd, before the Dublin Nat. Hist. Soc, 
1860, p. 218. quoted in 'Cottage Gardener,' 1856, 

60 Mr. Williams, in a paper read p. 161. 


as M. Gorlron 61 remarks the three principal types of skin in man- 
kind. The same author adds that, as different kinds of fowls living 
in distant and isolated parts of the world have black skin and bones, 
this colour must have appeared at various times and places. 

The shape and carriage of the body, and the shape of the head 
differ much. The beak varies slightly in length and curvature, but 
incomparably less than with pigeons. In most crested fowls the 
nostrils offer a remarkable peculiarity in being raised with a cres- 
centic outline. The primary wing-feathers are short in Cochins ; in 
ft male, which must have been more than twice as heavy as G. 
oankiva, these feathers were in both birds of the same length. I 
have counted, with Mr. Tegetmeier's aid, the primary wing-feathers 
in thirteen cocks and hens of various breeds ; in four of them, 
namely in two Hamburghs, a Cochin, and Game bantam, there were 
10, instead of the normal number 9 ; but in counting these feathers 
I have followed the practice of fanciers, and have not included the 
first minute primary feather, barely three-quarters of an inch in 
length. These feathers differ considerably in relative length, the 
fourth, or the fifth, or the sixth, being the longest; with the third 
either equal to, or considerably shorter than the fifth. In wild 
gallinaceous species the relative length and number of the main 
wing and tail-feathers are extremely constant. 

The tail differs much in ereotness and size, being small in Malays 
and very small in Cochins. In thirteen fowls of various breeds 
which I have examined, five had the normal number of 14 feathers, 
including in this number the two middle sickle-feathers; six others 
(viz. a Caffre cock, Gold-spangled Polish cock, Cochin hen, Sultan 
hen, Game hen and Malay hen had 16 ; and two (an old Cochin 
cock and Malay hen) had 17 feathers. The rumpless fowl has no tail 
and in one which I possessed there was no oil-gland ; but this 
bird though the os coccygis was extremely imperfect, had a vestige 
of a tail with two rather long feathers in the position of the outer 
caudals. This bird came from a family where, as I was told, the 
breed had kept true for twenty years ; but rumpless fowls often 
produce chickens with tails. 62 An eminent physiologist 63 has 
recently spoken of this breed as a distinct species ; had he examined 
the deformed state of the os coccyx he would never have come to 
this conclusion ; he was probably misled by the statement, which may 
be found in some works, that tailless fowls are wild in Ceylon ; but 
this statement, as I have been assured by Mr. Layard and Dr. Kellaert 
who have so closely studied the birds of Ceylon, is utterly false. 

The tarsi vary considerably in length, being relatively to the 

61 ' De l'Espece,' 1859, p. 442. A frizzled fowl sent to me from 

For the occurrence of black-boned Madras had black bones, 
fowls in South America, see Roulin, 62 Mr. Hewitt, in Tegetmeier's 

in 'Mem. de l'Acad. des Sciences,' 'Poultry Book,' 1866, p. 231. 
torn. vi. p. 351 ; and Azara, ' Quad- 63 Dr. Broca, in Brown-Sequard's 

rupedes du Paraguay,' torn. ii. p. 324. 'Journal de Phys.,' torn. ii. p. 361. 

272 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

femur considerably longer in the Spanish and Frizzled, and shorter 
in the Silk and Bantam breeds, than in the wild G. bankiva ; but in 
the latter, as we have seen, the tarsi vary in length. The tarsi are 
often feathered. The feet in many breeds are furnished with 
additional toes. Golden-spangled Polish fowls are said " to have 
the skin between their toes much developed : Mr. Tegetmeier 
observed this in one bird, but it was not so in one which I examined. 
Prof. Hoffmann has sent me a sketch of the feet of a fowl of the 
common breed at Giessen, with a web extending between the three 
toes„ for about a third of their length. In Cochins the middle toe iis 
said 65 to be nearly double the length of the lateral toes, and there- 
fore much longer than in G. bankiva or in other fowls ; but this was 
not the case in two which I examined. The nail of the middle toe 
in this same breed is surprisingly broad and flat, but in a variable 
degree in two birds which I examined; of this structure in the nail 
there is only a trace in G. bankiva. 

The voice diners slightly, as I am informed by Mr. Dixon, in 
almost every breed. The Malays 6,; have a loud, deep, somewhat pro- 
longed crow, but with considerable individual difference. Colonel 
Sykes remarks that the domestic Kulm cock in India has not the 
shrill clear pipe of the English bird, and " his scale of notes appears 
more limited." Dr. Hooker was struck with the " prolonged howling 
screech" of the cocks in Sikhim. 67 The crow of the Cochin is noto- 
riously and ludicrously different from that of the common cock. 
The disposition of the different breeds is widely different, varying 
from the savage and defiant temper of the Game-cock to the 
extremely peaceable temper of the Cochins. The latter, it has been 
asserted, " graze to a much greater extent than any other varieties." 
The Spanish fowls suffer more from frost than other breeds. 

Before we pass on to the skeleton, the degree of distinctness 
of the several breeds from G. bankiva ought to be noticed. 
Some writers speak of the Spanish as one of the most distinct 
breeds, and so it is in general aspect ; but its characteristic 
differences are not important. The Malay appears to me more 
distinct, from its tall stature, small drooping tail with more 
than fourteen tail-feathers, and from its small comb and 
wattles ; nevertheless, one Malay sub-breed is coloured almost 
exactly like G. bankiva. Some authors consider the Polish 
fowl as wry distinct ; but this a semi-monstrous breed, as 
shown by the protuberant and irregularly perforated skull. 

54 Dixon's ' Ornamental Poultry,' 66 Ferguson on ' Prize Poultry,' p. 

p. 325. 87. 

65 'Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i. p. 67 Col. Sykes in 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc, 

485. Tegetmeier's 'Poultry Book,' 1832, p. 151. Dr. Hooker's ' Hima- 

1866, p. 41. On Cochins grazing, layan Journals,' vol. i. p. 314, 
ibid., p. 46, 


The Cochin, from its deeply furrowed frontal bones, peculiarly 
shaped occipital foramen, short wing-feathers, short tail con- 
taining more than fourteen feathers, broad nail to the middle 
toe, fluff}'- plumage, rough and dark-coloured eggs, and espe- 
cially from its peculiar voice, is probably the most distinct of 
all the breeds. If any one of our breeds has descended from 
some unknown species, distinct from G. bankiva, it is probably 
the Cochin ; but the balance of evidence does not favour this 
view. All the characteristic differences of the Cochin breed 
are more or less variable, and may be detected in a greater or 
lesser degree in other breeds. One sub-breed is coloured 
closely like G. bankiva. The feathered legs, often furnished 
with an additional toe, the wings incapable of flight, the 
extremely quiet disposition, indicate a long course of domes 
tication ; 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 guadrates and pterygoids), are 
absolutely identical in shape in all the skulls. So is the lower jaw. 
In the forehead slight differences are often perceptible between the 
males and females, evidently caused by the presence of the comb. 
In every case I take the skull of G. bankiva as the standard of 
comparison. In four Games, in one Malay hen, in an African cock, 
in a Frizzled cock from Madras, in two black-boned Silk hens, no 
differences worth notice occur. In three Spanish cocks, the form 
of the forehead between the orbits differs considerably ; in one it is 
considerably depressed, whilst in the two others it is rather promi- 
nent, with a deep medial furrow ; the skull of the hen is smooth. 
In three skulls of Sebright Bantams the crown is more globular, and 
slopes more abruptly to the occiput, than in G. bankiva. In a 
Bantam or Jumper from Burmah these same characters are more 
strongly pronounced, and the supra-occiput is more pointed. In 
a black Bantam the skull is not so globular, and the occipital 


274 FOWLS. Chap. YII. 

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 
singular manner by the processes of the nasal bone, but, as I have 
seen only one specimen, some of these differences may be individual. 
Of Cochins and Brahmas (the latter a crossed race approaching 
closely to Cochins) I have examined seven skulls; at the point 
where the ascending branches of the premaxillary rest on the frontal 
bone the surface is much depressed, and from this depression a deep 
medial furrow extends backwards to a variable distance ; the edges 
of this fissure are rather prominent, as is the top of the skull behind 
and over the orbits. These characters are less developed in the 
hens. The pterygoids, and the processes of the lower jaw, are 
broader, relatively to the size of the head, than in G. banhiva ; and 
this is likewise the case with Dorkings when of large size. The 
fork of the hyoid bone in Cochins is twice as wide as in G. bankioa, 
whereas the length of the other hyoid bones is only as three to 

B a 

Fig 33.— Occipital Foramen, of natural size. A. Wild Gallus baukiva. B. Cochin Cock. 

two. But the most remarkable character is the shape of the 
occipital foramen : in G. banhiva (A) the breadth in a horizontal 
line exceeds the height in a vertical line, and the outline is nearly 
circular ; whereas in Cochins (B) the outline is sub-triangular, and 
the vertical line exceeds the horizontal line in length. This same 
form likewise occurs in the black Bantam above referred to, and an 
approach to it may be seen in some Dorkings, and in a slight degree 
in certain other breeds. 

Of Dorkings I have examined three skulls, one belonging to the 
white-sub-breed ; the one character deserving notice is the breadth 
of the frontal bones, which are moderately furrowed in the middle ; 
thus in a skull which was less than once and a half the length of 
that of G. banhiva, the breadth between the orbits was exactly 
double. Of Hamburgh s I have examined four skulls (male and 
female) of the pencilled sub-breed, and one (male) of the spangled sub- 
breed; the nasal bones stand remarkably wide apart, but in a 
variable degree; consequently narrow membrane-covered spaces 
are left between the tips of the two ascending branches of the pre- 
maxillary bones, which are rather short, and between these branches 
and the nasal bones. The surface of the frontal bone, on which the 

Chap. VII. 



branches of the premaxillary rest, is very little depressed. These 
peculiarities no doubt stand in close relation with the broad, flattened 
rose-comb characteristic of the Hamburgh breed. 

I have examined fourteen skulls of Polish and other crested breeds. 
Their differences are extraordinary. First for nine skulls of dif- 
ferent sub-breeds of English Polish fowls. The hemispherical pro- 
tuberance of the frontal bones u8 may be seen in the accompanying 


Fig. 31.— Skulls of natural size, viewed from above, a little obliquely. A. Wild Callus 

bankica. B. White -created Polish Cock. 

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 
skull of a Polish fowl, and, for comparison, of a Cochin of the same 
size. The protuberance in all Polish fowls occupies the same position 
but differs much in size. In one of my nine specimens it was ex- 
tremely 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 oj)en pore ; 

68 See Mr. Tegetmeier's account, 
with woodcuts, of the skull of Polish 
fowls, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' Nov. 
2")th, 1856. For other references, see 
Isid. Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire, ' Hist. 
Gen. des Anomalies,' torn. i. p. 287. 

M. C. Dareste suspects ('Kecherches 
sur les Conditions de la Vie,' &c, 
Lille, 1863, p. 36) that the protuber- 
ance is not formed by the frontal 
bones, but by the ossification of the 
dura mater. 

276 FOWLS. Chap. YIL 

generally, there are many variously shaped open spaces, the bone 
forming an irregular reticulation. A medial, longitudinal, arched 
ribbon of bone is generally retained, but in one specimen there was 
no bone whatever over the whole protuberance, and the skull, when 
cleaned and viewed from above, presented the appearance of an open 
basin. The change in the whole internal form of the skull is sur- 
prisingly great. The brain is modified in a corresponding manner, 
as is shown in the two longitudinal sections, which deserve attentive 
consideration. The upper and anterior cavity of the three into 
which the skull may be divided, is the one which is so greatly 
modified ; it is evidently much larger than in the Cochin skull of 
the same size, and extends much further beyond the interorbital 
septum, but laterally is less deep. This cavity, as I hear from Mr. 
Tegetmeier, is entirely filled with brain. In the skull of the Cochin 
and of all ordinary fowls a strong internal ridge of bone separates 
the anterior from the central cavity ; but this ridge is quite absent 
in the Polish skull here figured. The shape of the central cavity is 
circular in the Polish, and lengthened in the Cochin skull. The 
shape of the posterior cavity, together with the position, size, and 
number of the pores for the nerves, differ much in these two skulls. 
A pit deeply penetrating the occipital bone of the Cochin is entirely 
absent in this Polish skull, whilst in another specimen it was well 
developed. In this second specimen the whole internal surface of 
the posterior cavity likewise differs to a certain extent in shape. 
I made sections of two other skulls, — namely, of a Polish fowl with 
the protuberance singularly little developed, and of a Sultan in 
which it was a little more developed ; and when these two skulls 
were placed between the two above figured (fig. 35), a perfect gra- 
dation in the configuration of each part of the internal surface could 
be traced. In the Polish skull, with a small protuberance, the ridge 
between the anterior and middle cavities was present, but low ; and 
in the Sultan this ridge was replaced by a narrow furrow standing 
on a broad raised eminence. 

It may naturally be asked whether these remarkable modifications 
in the form of the brain affect the intellect of Polish fowls ; some 
writers have stated that they are extremely stupid, but Bechstein 
and Mr. Tegetmeier have shown that this is by no means generally 
the case. Nevertheless Bechstein 69 states that he had a Polish hen 
which " was crazy, and anxiously wandered about all day long." 
A hen in my possession was solitary in her habits, and was often so 
absorbed in reverie that she could be touched ; she was also deficient 
in the most singular manner in the faculty of finding her way, so 
that, if she strayed a hundred yards from her feeding-place, she 
was completely lost, and would then obstinately try to proceed in a 
wrong direction. I have received other and similar accounts of 
Polish fowls appearing stupid or half-idiotic. 70 

69 ' Naturgeschichte Deutschlands,' have received communications to a 
Band iii. (1793), s. 400. similar effect from Messrs. Brent and 

70 The 'Field,' May 11th, 1861. I Tegetmeier. 

Chap. VII. 



To return to the skull of Polish fowls. The posterior part, -viewed 
externally, differs little from that of 67. bankiva. In most fowls 
the posterior-lateral process of the frontal bone and the process of 
the squamosal bone run together and are ossified near their ex- 
tremities : this union of the two bones, however, is not constant in 
any breed ; and in eleven out of fourteen skulls of crested breeds, 
these processes were quite distinct. These processes, when not 
united, instead of being inclined anteriorly, as in all common breeds, 
descend at right angles to the lower jaw ; and in this case the longer 

Fip\ 35.— Longitudinal .-ections of Skull, of natural size, viewed laterally. A. Polish Cock, 
b. Cociitn Cock, selected for comparison with the above from being of nearly the same 


axis of the bony cavity -of the ear is likewise more perpendicular, 
than in other breeds. When the squamosal process is free instead 
of expanding at the tip, it is reduced to an extremely fine and 
pointed style, of variable length. The pterygoid and quadrate bones 
present no differences. The palatine bones are a little more curved 
upwards at their posterior ends. The frontal bones, anteriorly to 
the protuberance, are, as in Dorkings, very broad, but in a variable 
degree. The nasal bones either stand far apart, as in Hamburghs, 
or almost touch each other, and in one instance were ossified 
together. Each nasal bone properly sends out in front two long 

278 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

processes of equal lengths, forming a fork ; but in all the Polish 
skulls, except one, the inner process was considerably, but in a 
variable degree, shortened and somewhat upturned. In all the 
skulls, except one, the two ascending branches of the premaxillary, 
instead of running up between the processes of the nasal bones and 
resting on the ethmoid bone, are much shortened and terminate in a 
blunt, somewhat upturned point. In those skulls in which the 
nasal bones approach quite close to each other or are ossified 
together, it would be impossible for the ascending branches of the 
premaxillary to reach the ethmoid and frontal bones ; hence we see 
that even the relative connection of the bones has been changed. 
Apparently in consequence of the branches of the premaxillary and 
of the inner processes of the nasal bones being somewhat upturned, 
the external orifices of the nostrils are upraised and assume a 
crescentic outline. 

I must still say a few words on some of the foreign Crested 
breeds. The skull of a crested, rumpless, white Turkish fowl was 
very slightly protuberant, and but little perforated ; the ascending 
branches of the premaxillary was well developed. In another 
Turkish breed, called Ghoondooks, the skull was considerably protu- 
berant and perforated ; the ascending branches of the premaxillary 
were so much aborted that they projected only -jL th of an inch ; and 
the inner processes of the nasal bone were so completely aborted, that 
the surface where they should have projected was quite smooth. 
Here then we see these two bones modified to an extreme degree. 
Of Sultans (another Turkish breed) I examined two skulls ; in that 
of the female the protuberance was much larger than in the male. 
In both skulls the ascending branches of the premaxillary were very 
short, and in both the nasal portion of the inner processes of the 
nasal bones were ossified together. These Sultan skulls differed 
from those of English Polish fowls in the frontal bones, anteriorly 
to the protuberance, not being broad. 

The last skull which I need describe is a unique one, lent to me 
by Mr. Tegetmeier : it resembles a Polish skull in most of its 
characters, but has not the great frontal protuberance; it has, 
however, two rounded knobs of a different nature, which stand 
more in front, above the lachrymal bones. These curious knobs, 
into which the brain does not enter, are separated from each other 
by a deep medial furrow ; and this is perforated by a few minute 
pores. The nasal bones stand rather wide apart, with their inner 
processes, and the ascending branches of the premaxillary, upturned 
and shortened. The two knobs no doubt supported the two great 
horn-like projections of the fcomb. 

From the foregoing facts we see in how astonishing a manner 
some of the bones of the skull vary in Crested fowls. The pro- 
tuberance 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. 

Chap. VIL 



A series may be formed commencing with the black- boned Silk 
fowl, which has a very small crest with the skull beneath penetrated 
only by a few minute orifices, but with no other change in its 
structure ; and from this first stage we may proceed to fowls with 
a moderately large crest, which rests, according to Bechstein, on a 
fleshy mass, but without any protuberance in the skull. I may add 
that I have seen a similar fleshy or fibrous mass beneath the tuft 
of feathers on the head of the Tufted duck ; and in this case there 
was no actual protuberance in the skull, but it had become a little 
more globular. Lastly, when we come to fowls with a largely 
developed crest, the skull becomes largely protuberant and is per- 
forated by a multitude of irregular open spaces. The close relation 
between the crest and the size of the bony protuberance is shown in 
another way; for Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that if chickens lately 
hatched be selected with a large bony protuberance, when adult 

Fig. 36.— Skull of Horned Fowl, of natural size, viewed from above, a little obliquely. (In 

the possession of Tegetmeier.) 

they will have a large crest. There can be no doubt that in former 
times the breeder of Polish fowls attended solely to the crest, and 
not to the skull ; nevertheless, by increasing the crest, in which he has 
been wonderfully successful, he has unintentionally made the skull 
protuberant to an astonishing degree ; and through correlation of 
growth, he has at the same time affected the form and relative con- 
nexion of the premaxillary and nasal bones, the shape of the orifice 
of the nose, the breadth of the frontal bones, the shape of the post- 
lateral processes of the frontal and squamosal bones, the direction 
of the axis of the bony cavity of the ear, and lastly the internal 
configuration of the whole skull together with the shape of the 

Vertehrce. — In O. banklva there are fourteen cervical, seven dorsal 
with ribs, apparently fifteen lumbar and sacral, and six caudal 

280 FOWLS. Chap. VIL 

vertebrae ; 71 but the lumbar and sacral are so much anchylosed that 
I am not sure of their number, and this makes the comparison of 
the total number of vertebrae in the several breeds difficult. I have 
spoken of six caudal vertebrae, because the basal one is almost 
completely anchylosed with the pelvis; but if we consider the 
number as seven, the caudal vertebrae agree in all the skeletons. 
The cervical vertebrae are, as just stated, in appearance fourteen ; 
but out of twenty-three skeletons in a fit state for examination, in 
five of them, namely, in two Games, in two pencilled Hamburghs, 
and. in a Polish, the fourteenth vertebra bore ribs, which, though 
small, were perfectly developed with a double articulation. The 
presence of these little ribs cannot be considered as a fact of much 
importance, for all the cervical vertebrae 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 vertebras, 72 we need feel no surprise at the number 
of the cervical vertebras in the fowl being, as it appears, variable. 

There are seven dorsal vertebras 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 vertebras were free. In two skeletons, the fifth dorsal was 
free ; generally the sixth is free (as in G. bankiva), but sometimes 
only at its posterior end, where in contact with the seventh. The 
seventh dorsal vertebra, in every case excepting in one Spanish cock, 
was anchylosed with the lumbar vertebras. So that the degree to 
which these middle dorsal vertebras are anchylosed is variable. 

Seven is the normal number of true ribs, but in two skeletons of 
the Sultan fowl (in which the fourteenth cervical vertebra was not 
furnished with little ribs) there were eight pairs ; the eighth pair 
seemed to be developed on a vertebra corresponding with the first 
lumbar in G. bankiva ; the sternal portion of both the seventh and 
eighth ribs did not reach the sternum. In four skeletons in which 
ribs were developed on the fourteenth cervical vertebra, there were, 
when these cervical ribs are included, eight pairs ; but in one 
Game cock, in which the fourteenth cervical was furnished with 
ribs, there were only six pairs of true dorsal ribs ; the sixth pair in 
this case did not have processes, and thus resembled the seventh 

71 It appears that I have not caudal vertebrae in this genus. But 

correctly designated the several groups I have used the same terms in all the 

of vertebrae, for a gre'at authority, following descriptions. 

Mr. W. K. Parker (' Transact. Zoolog. 72 Macgillivray, ' British Birds,' vol 

Soc.,' vc v. p. 198), specifies 16 i. p. 25. 
cervical, 4 dorsal, 15 lumbar, and 6 

Chap. VII. 




pair in other skeletons ; in this Game cock, as far as could be 
judged from the appearance 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 extremely broad in Cochins, and is completely 
ossified. As previously stated, it is scarcely possible to count the 
lumbo-sacral vertebrae ; but they certainly do not correspond in 
shape or number in the several skeletons. 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 occipital condyle is either 
ossified into a ring, or is, as in Bankiva, 
open on its upper margin. The upper arc 
of the spinal canal is a little more arched 
in Cochins, in conformity with the shaj:>e 
of the occipital foramen, than in G. bankiva. 
In several skeletons a difference, but not 
of much importance, may be observed, 
which commences at the fourth cervical 
vertebra, and is greatest at about the 
sixth, seventh, or eighth vertebra; this 
consists in the haemal descending processes 
being united to the body of the vertebra 
by a sort of buttress. This structure may 
be observed in Cochins, Polish, some Ham- 
burghs, and probably other breeds ; but 
is absent, or barely -developed, in Game, Dorking, Spanish, Bantam, 
and several other breeds examined by me. On the dorsal surface 
of the sixth cervical vertebra in Cochins three prominent points 
are more strongly developed than in the corresponding vertebra 
of the Game fowl or 67. bankiva. 

Ptlvis. — This differs in some few points in the several skeletons. 
The anterior margin of the ilium seems at first to vary much in 
outline, but this is chiefly due to the degree to which the margin 
in the middle part is ossified to the crest of the vertebrae ; the outline, 
however, does differ in being more truncated in Bantams, and more 
rounded in certain breeds, as in Cochins. The outline of the 
ischiadic foramen differs considerably, being nearly circular in 
Bantams, instead of egg-shaped as in the Bankiva, and more 
regularly oval in some skeletons, as in the Spanish. The obturator 
notch is also much less elongated in some skeletons than in others. 

Fig. 37— Sixth Cervical Vertebra, 
of natural size, viewed laterally. 
A. Wild Gallus bankiva. B. 
Cochin Cock. 



Chap. VII. 


The end of the pubic bone presents the greatest difference; bein 
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 shape strictly in the several breeds. 

The form 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 perpendicular 
and varies greatly, as does the 
curvature of the posterior end, 
and the flatness of the lower 
surface. The outline of the 
manubrial process also varies, 
being wedge-shaped in the Ban- 
kiva, and rounded in the Spanish 
breed. The furculum differs in 
being more or less arched, and 
greatly, as may be seen in the 
accompanying outlines, in the 
shape of the terminal plate ; but 
the shape of this part differed a 
little in two skeletons of the wild 
Bankiva. The coracoid presents 
no difference worth notice. The 
scapula varies in shape, being of 
nearly uniform breadth in Ban- 
kiva, much broader in the middle 
in the Polish fowl, and abruptly 
narrowed towards the apex in 
the two Sultan fowls. 

I carefully compared each 
separate bone of the leg and wing, relatively to the same bones 
in the wild Bankiva, in the following breeds, which I thought were 
the^most likely to differ; namely, in Cochin, Dorking, Spanish, 
Polish, Burmese Bantam, Frizzled Indian, and black-boned Silk 
fowls; and it was truly surprising to see how absolutely every 
process, articulation, and pore agreed, though the bones differed 
greatly in size. The agreement is far more absolute than in other 
parts of the skeleton. In stating this, I do not refer to the 
relative thickness and length of the several bones ; for the tarsi 
varied considerably in both these respects. But the other limb- 
bones varied little even in relative length. 

Fig. 38.— Extremity of the Furcula, of 
natural size, viewed laterally. A. Wild 
G alius bankiva. B. Spangled Polish 
Fowl. C. Spanish Fowl. D. Dorking 


Finally, I have not examined a sufficient number of skele- 
tons to say whether any of the foregoing differences, except 
in the skull, are characteristic of the several breeds. Appa- 
rently some differences are more common in certain breeds 
than in others, — as an additional rib to the fourteenth, cervical 
vertebra in Hamburghs and Games, and the breadth of the 
end of the pubic bone in Cochins. Both skeletons of the 
Sultan fowl had eight dorsal vertebra}, and the end of the 
scapula in both was somewhat attenuated. In the skull, the 
deep medial furrow in the frontal bones and the vertically 
elongated occipital foramen seem to be characteristic of 
Cochins; as is the great breadth of the frontal bones in 
Dorkings ; the separation and open spaces between the tips of 
the ascending branches of the premaxillaries and nasal bones, 
as well as the front part of the skull being but little depressed, 
characterise Hamburghs ; the globular shape of the posterior 
part of the skull seems to be characteristic of laced Bantams ; 
and lastly, the protuberance of the skull with the ascending- 
branches of the premaxillaries partially aborted, together 
with the other differences before specified, are eminently 
characteristic of Polish and other Crested fowls. 

But the most striking result of my examination of the 
skeleton is the great variability of all the bones except those 
of the extremities. To a certain extent we can understand 
why the skeleton fluctuates so much in structure ; fowls have 
been exposed to unnatural conditions of life, and their whole 
organization has thus been rendered variable ; but the breeder 
is quite indifferent to, and never intentionally selects, any 
modification in the skeleton. External characters, if not 
attended to by man, — such as the number of the tail and 
wing feathers and their relative lengths, which in wild birds 
are generally constant, — fluctuate in our domestic fowls in 
the same manner as the several parts of the skeleton. An 
additional toe is a " point " in Dorkings, and has become a 
fixed character, but is variable in Cochins and Silk fowls. 
The colour of the plumage and the form of the comb are in 
most breeds, or even sub-breeds, eminently fixed characters ; 
but in Dorkings these points have not been attended to, and 
are variable. When any modification in the skeleton is 

284 FOWLS. Chaf. VII. 

related to some external character which man values, it has 
been, unintentionally on his part, acted on by selection, and 
has become more or less fixed. We see this in the wonderful 
protuberance of the skull, which supports the crest of feathers 
in Polish fowls, and which by correlation has affected other 
parts of the skull. We see the same result in the two pro- 
tuberances 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 chansced 
outline of the occipital foramen, or the changed form of the 
scapula, or of the extremity of the furculum, are in any way 
correlated with other structures, or have arisen from the 
changed conditions and habits of life to which our fowls have 
been subjected ; but there is no reason to doubt that these 
various modifications in the skeleton could be rendered, either 
by direct selection, or by the selection of correlated structures, 
as constant and as characteristic of each breed, as are the size 
and shape of the body, the colour of the plumage, and the 
form of the comb. 

Effects of the Disuse of Parts. 

Judging from the habits of our European gallinaceous birds, 
Gallus bankiva in its native haunts would use its legs and wings 
more than do our domestic fowls, which rarely fly except to their 
roosts. The Silk and the Frizzled fowls, from having imperfect 
wing-feathers, cannot fly at all ; and there is reason to believe that 
both these breeds are ancient, so that their progenitors during 
many generations cannot have flown. The Cochins, also, from their 
short wings and heavy bodies, can hardly fly up to a low perch. 
Therefore in these breeds, especially in the two first, a considerable 
diminution in the wing-bones might have been expected, but this is 
not the case. In every specimen, after disarticulating and cleaning 
the bones, I carefully compared the relative length of the two main 
bones of the wing to each other, and of the two main bones of the 
leg to each other, with those of G. bankiva ; and it was surprising 
to see (except in the case of the tarsi) how exactly the same relative 
length had been retained. This fact is curious, from showing how 
truly the proportions of an organ may be inherited, although not 
fully exercised during many generations. I then, compared in 
several breeds the length of the femur and tibia with the humerus 
and ulna, and likewise these same bones with those of G. bankfca ; 
the result was that the wing-bones in all the breeds (except the 

Chap. VII. 



Burmese Jumper, which has unnaturally short legs, are slightly 
shortened relatively to the leg-bones ; but the decrease is so slight 
that it may be due to the standard specimen of G. bankiva having 
accidentally had wings of slightly greater length than usual ; so 
that the measurements are not worth giving. But it deserves 
notice that the Silk and Frizzled fowls, which are quite incapable 
of flight, had their wings less reduced relatively to their legs than 
in almost any other breed ! We have seen with domesticated 
pigeons that the bones of the wings are somewhat reduced in length, 
whilst the primary feathers are rather increased in length, and it is 
just possible, though not probable, that in the Silk and Frizzled 
fowls any tendency to decrease in the length of the wing-bones from 
disuse may have been checked through the law of compensation, by 
the decreased growth of the wing-feathers, and consequent increased 
supply of nutriment. The wing-bones, however, m both these breeds, 
are found to be slightly reduced in length when judged by the 
standard of the length of the sternum or head, relatively to these 
same parts in G. bankiva. 

The actual weight of the main bones of the leg and wing in twelve 
breeds is given in the two first columns in the following table. The 
calculated weight of the wing-bones relatively to the leg-bones, in 
comparison with the leg and wing-bones of G. bankiva, are given 
in the third column, — the weight of the wing-bones in G. bankiva 
being called a hundred. 73 

Table I. 


Weight of Wing- 



bones relatively to 

Names of Breeds. 


Weight of 

the Leg-bones in 



comparison with 


and Ulna. 

these same bones 


in G. bankiva 



Gallus bankiva . . . . wild male 













Spanish (Minorca) . . male 





Gold-Spangled Polish male 





Game, black- breasted male 













Indian Frizzled . . . . male 





Burmese Jumper . . female 





Hamburgh (pencilled) male 





Hamburgh (pencilled) female 





Sdk (black-boned) . . female 




73 It may be well to explain how 
the calculation has been made for the 
third column. In G. bankiva the 

leg -^ones are to the wing-bones as 
86 : 54, or as (neglecting decimals) 
100 : 62; — in Cochins as 311 : 162, or 



Chap. VII. 

In the eight first birds, belonging to distinct breeds, in this table, 
we see a decided reduction in the weight of the bones of the wing. 

In the Indian Frizzled fowl, which cannot fly, the reduction is 
carried to the greatest extent, namely, to thirty-three per cent, of 
their projjer proportional weight. In the next four birds, including 
the Silk hen, which is incapable of flight, we see that the wings, 
relatively to the legs, are slightly increased in weight ; but it should 
be observed that, if in these birds the legs had become from any 
cause reduced in weight, this would give the false appearance of 
the wings having increased in relative weight. Now a reduction of 
this nature has certainly occurred with the Burmese Jumper, in 
which the legs are abnormally short, and in the two Hamburghs 
and Silk fowl, the legs, though not short, are formed of remarkably 
thin and light bones. I make these statements, not judging by 
mere eyesight, but after having calculated the weights of the leg- 
bones relatively to those of G. bankiva, according to the only two 
standards of comparison which I could use, namely, the relative 
lengths of the head and sternum ; for I do not know the weight of 
the body in G. bankiva, which would have been a better standard. 
According to these standards, the leg-bones in these four fowls are 
in a marked manner far lighter than in any other breed. It may 
therefore be concluded that in all cases in which the legs have not 
been through some unknown cause much reduced in weight, the 
wing-bones have become reduced in weight relatively to the leg- 
bones, in comparison with those of G. bankiva. And this reduction 
of weight may, I apprehend, safely be attributed to disuse. 

To make the foregoing table quite satisfactory, it ought to have 
been shown that in the eight first birds the leg-bones have not actually 
increased in weight out of due proportion with the rest of the body ; 
this I cannot show, from not knowing, as already remarked, the 
weight of the wild Bankiva. 74 I am indeed inclined to suspect that 
the leg-bones in the Dorking, No. 2 in the table, are proportionally 
too heavy ; but this bird was a very large one, weighing 7 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 

as 100 : 52 ; — in Dorkings as 557 : 248, 
or as 100 : 44 ; and so on for the 
other breeds. We thus get the series 
of 62, 52, 44 for the relative weights 
of the wing-bones in G. bankiva, 
Cochins, Dorkings, &c. And now 
taking 100, instead of 62, for the 
weight of the wing-bones in G. bankiva, 
we ge.*, by another rule of three, 8;} 
as tr ; weight of the wing-bones in 
Coch ns ; 70 in the Dorkings; and 

so on for the remainder of the third 
column in the table. 

74 Mr. Blyth (in ' Annals and Mag. 
of Nat. Hist.,' 2nd series, vol. i., 1848, 
p. 456) gives 3£ lb. as the weight of 
a full-grown male G. bankiva; but 
from what I have seen of the skins 
and skeletons of various breeds, I 
cannot believe that my two specimens 
of G. bankiva could have weighed so 

Chap. VII. 



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 column we have the calculated depth of the crest, relatively 
to the length of the sternum, in comparison with these same parts 
in G. bankiva. 73 

Table II. 

Names of breeds. 













Gallus bankiva .. .. male 

Cochin male 

Dorking mala 

Spanish male 

Polish male 

Game male 

Malay female 

Sultan male 

Frizzled hen male 

Burmese Jumper . . . . female 

Hamburgh male 

Hamburgh female 

Silk fowl female 






























Depth of 




Depth of Crest 

relatively to the 

length of the 

Sternum, in 

comparison with 

G. baiikiva. 










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 com- 
parison with G. bankiva, is diminished, generally between 10 and 
20 per cent. But the degree of reduction varies much, partly in 
consequence of the frequently deformed state of the sternum. In 
the Silk fowl, which cannot fly, the crest is 34 per cent, less deep 
than what it ought to have been. This reduction of the crest in all 
the breeds probably accounts for the great variability, before 
referred to, in the curvature of the furculum, and in the shape of its 
sternal extremity. Medical men believe that the abnormal form of 
the spine so commonly observed in women of the higher ranks 
results from the attached muscles not being fully exercised. So 
it is with our domestic fowls, for they use their pectoral muscles 

75 The third column is calculated on the same principle as explained iu the 
previous foot-note, p. 285. 

288 FOWLS. Chap. VII. 

but little, and, out of twenty-five sternums examined by me, three 
alone were perfectly symmetrical, ten were moderately crooked, and 
twelve were deformed to an extreme degree. Mr. Eomanes, however, 
believes that the malformation is due to fowls whilst young resting 
their sternums on the sticks on which they roost. 

Finally, we may conclude with respect to the various breeds 
of the fowl, that the main bones of the wing have probably 
been shortened in a very slight degree ; that they have certainly 
become lighter relatively to the leg-bones in all the breeds in 
which these latter bones are not unnaturally short or deli- 
cate ; and that the crest of the sternum, to which the pectoral 
muscles are attached, has invariably become less prominent, 
the whole sternum being also extremely liable to deformity. 
These results we may attribute to the lessened use of the 

Correlation of Growth. — I will here sum up the few facts 
which I have collected on this obscure, but important, subject. 
In Cochin and Game fowls there is perhaps some relation 
between the colour of the plumage and the darkness of the 
esrar-shell. In Sultans the additional sickle-feathers in the 


tail are apparently related to the general redundancy of the 
plumage, as shown by the feathered legs, large crest, and 
beard. In two tailless fowls which I examined the oil-gland 
was aborted. A large crest of feathers, as Mr. Tegetmeier 
has remarked, seems always accompanied ~by a great dimi- 
nution or almost entire absence of the comb. A large beard 
is similarly accompanied by diminished or absent wattles. 
These latter cases apparently come under the law of com- 
pensation 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 corre- 
sponding manner the underlying skull ; and we have seen 
how wonderfully this is the case with Crested fowls when 
the crest is largely developed. With the protuberance of the 
frontal bones the shape of the internal surface of the skull 
and of the brain is greatly modified. The presence of a crest 
influences in some unknown way the development of the 
ascending branches of the premaxillary bone, and of the 


inner processes of the nasal bones ; and likewise the shape of 
the external orifice of the nostrils. There is a plain and 
curious correlation between a crest of feathers and the im- 
perfectly ossified condition of the skull. Not only does this 
hold, good with nearly all crested fowls, but likewise with 
tufted 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 in- 
teresting ; because, though both sexes of some wild gallina- 
ceous 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. It would 
therefore appear that the same law has regulated the state of 
the feathers on the head and body, both with species living 
under natural conditions, and with birds which have varied 
under domestication. 










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


I will, as in previous cases, first briefly describe the chief 
domestic breeds of the duck : — 

Breed 1. Common Domestic Duck. — Varies much in colour and 
in proportions, and differs in instincts and disposition from the 
wild duck. There are several sub-breeds : — (1) The Aylesbury, of 
great size, white, with pale-yellow beak and legs ; abdominal dermal 
sack largely developed. (2) The Rouen, of great size, coloured like 
the wdld duck, with green or mottled beak ; dermal sack largely 
developed. (3) Tufted Duck, with a large top-knot of fine downy 
feathers, supported on a fleshy mass, with the skull perforated 
beneath. The top-knot in a duck which I imported from Holland 
was two and a half inches in diameter. (4) Labrador (or Canadian, 
or Buenos Ayres, or East Indian) ; plumage entirely black ; beak 
broader, relatively to its length, than in the wild duck ; eggs slightly 
tinted with black. This sub-breed perhaps ought to be ranked as 
a breed ; it includes tw r o 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 ; never- 

1 'Poultrv Chronicle ' (1354), vol. 2 Dr Turral, in ' Bull. Soc. cl'Ao 

ii. p. 91, and vol. i. p. 330. climat.,' torn. vii. 1860, p. 541. 

Chap. VIII. 



theless this sub- variety is polygamous, like other domesticated 
ducks and unlike the wild duck. These black Labrador ducks 
breed true ; but a case is given by Dr. Turral of the French sub- 
variety producing young with some white feathers on the head and 
neck, and with an ochre-coloured patch on the breast. 

Breed 2. Hook-billed Duck. — This bird presents an extraordinary 
appearance from the downward curvature of the beak. The head is 
often tufted. The common colour is white, but some are coloured 
like wild ducks. It is an ancient breed, having been noticed in 
1676. 3 It shows its prolonged domestication by almost incessantly 
laying eggs, like the fow T ls 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. Pen gum Duck. — This is the most remarkable of all the 
breeds, and seems to have originated in the Malayan archipelago. 
It walks with its body extremely erect, and with its thin neck 
stretched straight upwards. Beak rather short. Tail upturned, 
including only 18 feathers. Femur and metatarsus elongated. 

Almost all naturalists admit that the several breeds are 
descended from the common wild duck (Anas boschas) ; most 
fanciers, on the other hand, take as usual a very different 
view. 5 Unless Ave deny that domestication, prolonged during 
centuries, can affect even such unimportant characters as 
colour, size, and in a slight degree proportional dimensions 
and mental disposition, there is no reason whatever to doubt 
that the domestic duck is descended from the common wild 
species, for the one differs from the other in no important 
character. We have some historical evidence with respect to 
the period and progress of the domestication of the duck. It 
was unknown 6 to the ancient Egyptians, to the Jews of the 
Old Testament, and to the Greeks of the Homeric period. 
About eighteen centuries ago Columella 7 and Yarro speak of 

3 Willughby's 'Ornithology,' by 
Ray, p. 381. This breed is also 
figured by Albin, in 1734, in his 
' Nat. Hist, of Birds,' vol. ii. p. 86. 

4 F. Cuvier, in ' Annales du Museum,' 
torn, ix. p. 128, says that moulting 
and incubation alone stops these ducks 
laying. Mr. B. P. Brent makes a 
similar remark in the ' Poultry Chro- 
nicle,' 1855, vol. iii. p. 512. 

5 Rev. E. S. Dixon, 'Ornamental 
and Domestic Poultry' (1848), p. 
117. Mr. B. P. Brent, in 'Poultry 
Chronicle,' vol. iii., 1855, p. 512. 

6 Crawfurd on the ' Relation of 
Domesticated Animals to Civilisation,' 
read before the Brit. Assoc, at Oxford, 

7 Dureau de la Malle, in 'Annales 
des Sciences Nat.,' torn. xvii. p. 164; 



Chap. VIII. 

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 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 naturalized and prolific inmate of 
the Roman poultry-yard." The origin of the domestic duck 
from the wild species is recognised in nearly every language 
of Europe, as Aldrovandi long ago remarked, by the same 
name being applied to both. The wild duck has a wide 
range from the Himalayas to North America. It crosses 
readily with the domestic bird, and the crossed offspring are 
perfectly fertile. 

Both in North America and Europe the wild duck has been 
found easy to tame and breed. In Sweden this experiment 
was carefully tried by Tiburtius ;• he succeeded in rearing 
wild ducks for three generations, but, though they were 
treated like common ducks, they did not vary even in a 
single feather. The young birds suffered from being allowed 
to swim about in cold water, 8 as is known to be the case, 
though the fact is a strange one, with the young of the 
common domestic duck. An accurate and well-known ob- 
server in England 9 has described in detail his often repeated 
and successful exj>eriments in domesticating the wild duck. 
Young birds are easily reared from eggs hatched under a 
bantam ; but to succeed it is indispensable not to place the 
eggs of both the wild and tame duck under the same hen, 
for in this case " the young wild ducks die off, leaving their 
more hardy brethren in undisturbed possession of their foster- 
mother's care. The difference of habit at the onset in the 

and torn. xxi. p. 55. Rev. E. S. 
Dixon, 'Ornamental Poultry,' p. 118. 
Tame ducks were not known in Aris- 
totle's time, as remarked by Volz, in 
his ' Beitr'age zur Kulturgeschiohte,' 
1852, s. 78. 

8 I quote this account from ' Die 
Enten- und Schwanenzucht,' Ulm, 
1828, s. 143. See Audubon's ' Ornitho- 
logical Biography,' vol. iii. p. 168, on 

the taming of ducks on the Mississippi. 
For the same fact in Eno-land, see Mr. 
Waterton in Loudon's Mag. of Nat. 
Hist.,' vol. viii. 1835, p. 542 ; and 
Mr. St. John, ' Wild Sports and JS T at. 
Hist, of the Highlands,' 1846, p. 129. 
9 Mr. E. Hewitt, in ' Journal of 
Horticulture,' 1862, p. 773; and 
1863, p. 39. 


newly-hatched ducklings almost entails such a result to a 
certainty." The wild ducklings were from the first quite 
tame towards those who took care of them as long as they 
wore the same clothes, and likewise to the dogs and cats of 
the house. They would even snap with their beaks at the 
dogs, and drive them away from any spot which they coveted. 
But they were much alarmed at strange men and dogs. 
Differently from what occurred in Sweden, Mr. Hewitt found 
that his young birds always changed and deteriorated in 
character in the course of two or three generations ; not- 
withstanding that great care was taken to prevent their 
crossing with tame ducks. After the third generation his 
birds lost the elegant carriage of the wild species, and began 
to acquire the gait of the common duck. They increased in 
size in each generation, and their legs became less fine. The 
white collar round the neck of the mallard became broader 
and less regular, and some of the longer primary wing-feathers 
became more or less white. When this occurred, Mr. Hewitt 
destroyed nearly the whole of his stock and procured fresh 
eggs from wild nests ; so that he never bred the same family 
for more than five or six generations. His birds continued 
to pair together, and never became polygamous like the 
common domestic duck. I have given these details, because 
no other case, as far as I know, has been so carefully re- 
corded by a competent observer of the progress of change 
in wild birds reared for several generations in a domestic 

From these considerations there can hardly be a doubt that 
the wild duck is the parent of the common domestic kind ; 
nor need we look to other species for the parentage of the 
more distinct breeds, namely, Penguin, Call, Hook-billed, 
Tufted, and Labrador ducks. I will not repeat the arguments 
used in the previous chapters on the improbability of man 
having in ancient times domesticated several species since 
become unknown or extinct, though ducks are not readily 
exterminated in the wild state; — on some of the supposed 
parent-species having had abnormal characters in comparison 
with all the other species of the genus, as with Hook-billed 
and Penguin ducks ; — on all the breeds, as far as is known 


being fertile together ; 10 — on all the breeds having the same 
general disposition, instinct, &c. But one fact bearing on 
this question may be noticed : in the great duck family, one 
species alone, namely, the male of A. bosclias, has its four 
middle tail-feathers curled upwardly; now in every one 
of the above-named domestic breeds these curled feathers 
exist, and on the supposition that they are descended from 
distinct species, we must assume that man formerly hit 
upon species all of which had this now unique character. 
Moreover, sub varieties of each breed are coloured almost 
exactly like the wild duck, as I have seen with the 
largest and smallest breeds, namely Eouens and Call ducks, 
and, as Mr. Brent states, 11 is the case with Hook billed 
ducks. This gentleman, as he informs me, crossed a white 
Aylesbury drake and a black Labrador duck, and some of 
the ducklings as they grew up assumed the plumage of the 
wild duck. 

With respect to Penguins, I have not seen many specimens, 
and none were coloured precisely like the wild duck ; but Sir 
J ames Brooke sent me three skins from Lombok and Bali, in 
the Malayan archipelago ; the two females were paler and 
more rufous than the wild duck, and the drake differed in 
having the whole under and upper surface (excepting the 
neck, tail-coverts, tail, and wings) silver-grey, finely pencilled 
with dark lines, closely like certain parts of the plumage of 
the wild mallard. But I found this drake to be identical in 
every feather with a variety of the common breed procured 
from a farm-yard in Kent, and I have occasionally elsewhere 
seen similar specimens. The occurrence of a duck bred under 
so peculiar a climate as that of the Malayan archipelago, 
where the wild species does not exist, with exactly the same 

10 I have met with several state- inter se, so that the experiment was 

ments on the fertility of the several not fully tried. Some half-brea 

breeds when crossed. Mr. Yarrell Penguins and Labradors were again 

assured me that Call and common crossed with Penguins, and subse- 

dueks are perfectly fertile together. quently bred by me inter se, and they 

I crossed Hook-billed and common were extremely fertile, 
ducks, and a Penguin and Labrador, u ' Poultry Chronicle.' 1855, vol. 

and the crossed Ducks were quite iii. p. 512. 
fertile, though they were not bred 


plumage as may occasionally be seen in our farm-yards, is a 
fact worth notice. Nevertheless the climate of the Malayan 
archipelago apparently tends to cause the duck to vary much, 
for Zollinger, 12 speaking of the Penguin breed, says that in 
Lombok " there is an unusual and very wonderful variety of 
ducks." One Penguin drake which I kept alive differed from 
those of which the skins were sent me from Lombok, in 
having its breast and back partially coloured with chestnut- 
brown, thus more closely resembling the Mallard. 

From these several facts, more especially from the drakes 
of all the breeds having curled tail-feathers, and from certain 
sub- varieties in each breed occasionally resembling in general 
plumage the wild duck, we may conclude with confidence 
that all the breeds are descended from A. boschas. 

I will now notice some of the peculiarities characteristic of the 
several breeds. The eggs vary in colour; some common ducks 
laying pale-greenish and others quite white eggs. The eggs which 
are first laid during each season by the black Labrador duck, are 
tinted black, as if rubbed with ink. A good observer assured me 
that one year his ducks of this breed laid almost perfectly white 
eggs. Another curious case shows wiiat singular variations some- 
times occur and are inherited ; Mr. Hansell 13 relates that he had 
a common duck wmich always laid eggs with the yolk of a dark- 
brown colour like melted glue ; and the young ducks, hatched from 
these eggs, laid the same kind of eggs, so that the breed had to be 

The Hook-billed duck is highly remarkable (see fig. of skull, 
woodcut No. 39); and its peculiar beak has been inherited at 
leust since the year 1676. This structure is evidently analogous 
with that described in the Bagadotten carrier pigeon. Mr. Brent 14 
says that, when Hook-billed ducks are crossed with common ducks, 
" many young ones are produced with the upper mandible shorter 
than the lower, which not unfrequently causes the death of the 
bird." With ducks a tuft of feathers on the head is by no means a 
rare occurrence ; namely, in the True-tufted breed, the Hook-billed, 
the common farm-yard kind, and in a duck having no other 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 

11 'Journal of the Indian Archi- (1849-1850), p. 2353. 
pelago,' vol. v. p. 334. u 'Poultry Chronicle,' 1855, vol. 

15 'The Zoologist,' vols, vii., viii. hi. p. 512. 


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 domesti- 
cation. But the voice varies in the different breeds; Mr. Brent 15 
says that Hook-billed ducks are very loquacious, and that Bouens 
utter a "dull, loud, and monotonous cry, easily distinguishable by 
an experienced ear." As the loquacity of the Call duck is highly 
serviceable, these birds being used in decoys, this quality may have 
been increased by selection. For instance, Colonel Hawker says, if 
young wild ducks cannot be got for a decoy, " by way of make-shift, 
select tame birds which are the most clamorous, even if their colour 
.should not be like that of wild ones." 16 It has been erroneously 
[isserted that Call ducks hatch their eggs in less time than common 
ducks. 1 ' 

The Penguin duck is the most remarkable of all the breeds ; the 
thin neck and body are carried erect ; the wings are small ; the tail 
is upturned ; and the thigh-bones and metatarsi are considerably 
lengthened in proportion with the same bones in the wild duck. 
In five specimens examined by me there were only eighteen tail- 
feathers instead of twenty as in the wild duck ; but I have also 
found only eighteen and nineteen tail-feathers in two Labrador 
ducks. On the middle toe. in three specimens, there were twenty- 
seven or twenty-eight scutellsB, w r hereas in two wild ducks there were 
thirty-one and thirty-two. The Penguin when crossed transmits 
with much power its peculiar form of body and gait to its offspring ; 
this was manifest with some hybrids raised in the Zoological 
Gardens between one of these birds and the Egyptian goose 18 
(Anser oegyptiacus) , and likewise with some mongrels which I 
raised between the Penguin and Labrador duck. 1 am not much 
surprised that some writers should maintain that this breed must 
be descended from an unknown and distinct species ; but from the 
reasons already assigned, it seems to me far more probable that it 
is the descendant, much modified by domestication under an 
unnatural climate, of Anas boschas. 

Osteological Characters — The skulls of the several breeds differ 
from each other and from the skull of the wild duck in very little 
except in the proportional length and curvature of the premaxil- 
laries. These latter bones in the Call duck are short, and a line 
drawn from their extremities to the summit of the skull is nearly 
rtraight, instead of being concave as in the common duck ; so that 

15 ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. iii. 17 ' Cottage Gardener,' April 9th, 
1855, p. 312. With respect to Rouens, 1861. 

see ditto, vol. i., 1854, p. 167. 18 These hybrids have been described 

16 Col. Hawker's ' Instructions to by M. Selys-Longchamps in the 
young Sportsmen,' quoted by Mr. 'Bulletins (torn. xii. No 10) Acad. 
Dixon in his ' Ornamental Poultry,' Roy. de Bruxelles.' 

p. 125. 



the skull resembles that of a small goose. In the Hook-billed duck 
(rig. '6V), these same bones as well as the lower jaw curve down- 
wards in a most remarkable manner, as represented. In the 
Labrador duck the premaxillaries are rather broader than in the 
wila duck ; and in two skulls of this breed the vertical ridges on 
each side of the supra-occipital bone are very prominent. In the 
Penguin the premaxillaries are relatively shorter than in the wild 
duck ; and the inferior points of the paramastoids more prominent. 
In a Dutch tufted duck, the skull under the enormous tuft was 
slightly more globular and was perforated by two large apertures ; 
in this skull the lachrymal bones were produced much further 
backwards, so as to have a different shape and nearly to touch the 
post. lat. processes of the frontal bones, thus almost completing the 
bony orbit of the eye. As the quadrate and pterygoid bones are of 

Fig 39. — Skulls, viewed laterally, reduced to two-thirds of the natural size. A. Wild Duck. 

B. Hook-billed Duck. 

such, complex shape and stand in relation with so many other 
bones, I carefully compared them in all the principal breeds ; but 
excepting in size they presented no difference. 

Vertebrae and Bibs. — In one skeleton of the Labrador duck there 
were the usual fifteen cervical vertebrae and the usual nine dorsal 
vertebrae bearing ribs; in the other skeleton there were fifteen 
cervical and ten dorsal vetebrae with ribs ; nor, as far as could be 
judged, was this owing merely to a rib having been developed on 
the first lumbar vertebra ; for in both skeletons the lumbar 
vertebras agreed perfectly in number, shape, and size with those of 
the wild duck. In two skeletons of the Call duck there were 




Chap VIII, 

fifteen cervical and nine dorsal vertebrae ; in a third skeleton small 
ribs were attached to the so-called fifteenth cervical vertebra, 
making ten pairs of ribs ; but these ten ribs do not correspond, or 
arise from the same vertebra, with the ten in the above-mentioned 
Labrador duck. In the Call duck, which had small ribs attached 
to the fifteenth cervical vertebra, the haemal spines of the thirteenth 
and fourteenth (cervical) and of the seventeenth (dorsal) vertebrae 
corresponded with the spines on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and 
eighteenth 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 eighth 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 shortened. 
In the Penguin duck the neck 
from its thinness and erectness 
falsely appears (as ascertained by- 
measurement) to be much elon- 
gated, but the cervical and dorsal 
i) vertebrae present no difference; 
the posterior dorsal vertebrae, 
however, are more completely 
anchylosed 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 verte- 
brae, 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 twelfth cervical vertebra in these two birds. 
From the foregoing statements we see that the fifteenth cervical 
vertebra occasionally becomes modified into a dorsal vertebra, and 
when this occurs all the adjoining vertebrae are modified. We also 
see that an additional dorsal vertebra bearing a rib is occasionally 
developed, the number of the cervical and lumbar vertebrae 
apparently remaining the same as usual. 

I examined the bony enlargement of the trachea in the males of 
the Penguin, Call, Hook-billed, Labrador, and Aylesbury breeds; 
and in all it was identical in shape. 

The p'dvlft 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 

Fig. 4°. — Cervical Vertebrae, of natural size. 
A. Eighth cervical vertebra of Wild Duck, 
viewed on haemal surface. B. Eighth 
cervical vertebra of Call Duck, viewed as 
above. C. Twelfth cervical vertebra of 
Wild Duck viewed laterally. D. Twelfth 
cervical vertebra of Aylesbury Duck, 
viewed laterally. 

Chap. VIII 



elongated. In the sternum, furcnlum, coracoids, and scapulae, the 
differences are so slight and so variable as not to be worth notice, 
except that in two skeletons of the Penguin duck the terminal 
portion of the scapula was much attenuated. 

In the bones of the leg and wing no modification in shape could 
be observed. But in the Penguin and Hook-billed ducks, the 
terminal phalanges of the wing are a little shortened. In the 
former, the femur, and metatarsus (but not the tibia) are con- 
siderably lengthened, relatively to the same bones in the wild duck, 
and to the wing-bones in both birds. This elongation of the leg- 
bones could be seen whilst the bird was alive, and is no doubt 
connected with its peculiar upright manner of walking. In a 
large Aylesbury duck, on the other hand, the tibia was the only 
bone of the leg which relatively to the other bones was slightly 

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. 

Wild mallard 
Aylesbury . . 
Tufted (Dutch) 
Call .. .. 

Length of Femur, 
Tibia, and Meta- 
tarsus together. 




Length of Humerus, 
Radius, and Meta- 
carpus together. 

Or as 












100 : 129 
100 : 120 
100 : 119 
100 : 123 
100 : 125 

Wild duck (another speci- 

Common domestic duck . . 

Length of same 



Length of all the 

Bones of Wing. 








In the foregoing table we see, by comparison with the wild duck, 
that the reduction in the length of the bones of the wing, re- 
latively to those of the legs, though slight, is universal. The 
reduction is least in the Call duck, which has the power and the 
habit of frequently flying. 

In weight there is a greater relative difference between the bonea 
of the leg and wing, as may be seen in the following table : — 



Chap. VIII. 

Name of Breed. 

Weight of Femur, 
Tibia, and 

Weight of 
Humerus, Radius, 
and Metacarpus. 

Or as 


Tufted (Dutch) .. .. 









100 : 179 
100 : 124 
100 : 149 
100 : 133 
100 : 120 
100 : 117 
100 : 163 

Wild (another specimen) 
Common domestic duck . . 

Weight of all the 

Bones of the 
Leg and Foot. 

Weight of all the 

Bones of the 


100 : 173 
100 : 124 





In these domesticated birds, the considerably lessened weight of 
the bones of the wing (i. e. on an average, twenty-five per cent, of 
their proper proportional weight), as well as their slightly lessened 
length, relatively to the leg-bones, might follow, not from any 
actual decrease in the wing-bones, but from the increased weight 
and length of the bones of the legs. The first of the two tables on 
the iiext 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 dis- 
proportion shown in the foregoing tables between the wing and leg- 
bones, in comparison with those of the wild duck, is partly due to 
the increase in weight and length of the leg-bones, and partly to 
the decrease in weight and length of the wing-bones. 

With respect to the two following tables, I may first state that I 
tested them by taking another skeleton of a wild duck and of a 
common domestic duck, and by comparing the weight of all the 
bones of the leg with all those of the wings, and the result was the 
same. In the first of these tables we see that the leg-bones in each 
case have increased in actual weight. It might have been expected 
that, with the increased or decreased weight of the entire skeleton, 
the leg-bones would have become proportionally heavier or lighter ; 
but their greater weight in all the breeds relatively to the other 
bones can be accounted for only by these domestic birds having 
used their legs in walking and standing much more than the wild, 
for they never fly, and the more artificial breeds rarely swim. In 
the second table we see, with the exception of one case, a plain 
reduction in the weight of the bones of the wing, and this no doubt 
has resulted from their lessened use. The one exceptional case, 

Chap. VIII. 



Name of Breed. 

Weight of entire 
(X.B. One Metatar- 
sus and Foot was 
removed from each 
skeleton, as it had 
been accidentally lost 
in tvvo cases.) 

Weight of 


Tibia, and 


Or as 


Tutted (Dutch) 

Call (from Mr. Fox) .. .. 













1000 : 61 
1000 : 85 
1000 : 86 
1000 : 79 

Tufted (Dutch) 

Call (from Mr. Baker "i 
Call (from Mr. Fox) .. .. 

Weight of Skeleton 
as above. 

Weight of 


Radius and 


1000 : 115 
1000 : 105 
1C00 : 105 
1000 : 103 
1000 : 109 
1000 : 129 






namely, in one of the Call ducks, is in truth no exception, for this 
bird was constantly in the habit of flying about ; and I have seen 
it day after day rise from my grounds, and fly for a long time in 
circles of more than a mile in diameter. In this Call duck there is 
not only no decrease, but an actual increase in the weight of the 
wing-bones relatively to those of the wild-duck ; and this probably 
is consequent on the remarkable lightness and thinness of all the 
bones of the skeleton. 

Lastly, I weighed the furculum, coracoids, and scapula of a wild 
duck and of a common domestic duck, and I found that their 
weight, relatively to that of the whole skeleton, was as one hundred 
in the former to eighty-nine in the latter ; this shows that these 
bones in the domestic duck have been reduced eleven per cent, of 
their due proportional weight. The prominence of the crest of the 
sternum, relatively to its length, is also much reduced in all the 
domestic breeds. These changes have evidently been caused by 
the lessened use of the wings. 

It is well known that several birds, belonging to different 
Orders, and inhabiting oceanic islands, have their wings 
greatly reduced in size and are incapable of flight. I sug- 
gested in my ' Origin of Species ' that, as these birds are not 


persecuted by any enemies, the reduction of their wings had 
probably been caused by gradual disuse. Hence, during the 
earlier stages of the process of reduction, such birds would 
probably have resembled our domesticated ducks in the state 
of their organs of flight. This is the case with the water- 
hen (Gallinula nesiotis) of Tristan d'Acunha, which " can 
flutter a little,' but obviously uses its legs, and not its wings, 
as a mode of escape." Now Mr. Sclater 19 finds in this bird 
that the wings, sternum, and coracoids are all reduced in 
length, and the crest of the sternum in depth, in comparison 
with the same bones in the European water-hen (G. chlorojpus). 
On the other hand, the thigh-bones and pelvis are increased 
in length, the former by four lines, relatively to the same 
bones in the common water-hen. Hence in the skeleton of 
this natural species nearly the same changes have occurred, 
only carried a little further, as with our domestic ducks, and 
in this latter case I presume no one will dispute that they 
have resulted from the lessened use of the wings and the in- 
creased use of the leers. 


The Goose. 

This bird deserves some notice, as hardly any other anciently 
domesticated bird or quadruped has varied so little. That 
geese were anciently domesticated we know from certain 
verses in Homer; and from these birds having been kept 
(388 B.C.) in the Capitol at Eome as sacred to Juno, which 
sacredness implies great antiquity. 20 That the goose has 
varied in some degree, we may infer from naturalists not 
being unanimous with respect to its wild parent-form ; 
though the difficulty is chiefly due to the existence of three 
or four closely allied wild European species. 21 A large 
majority of capable judges are convinced that our geese are 
descended from the wild Grey-leg goose (A. ferus) ; the 

19 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' 1861, p. Poultry,' by Rev. E. S. Dixon, 1848, 
261. P- 132. The goose figured on the 

20 ' Ceylon,' by Sir J. E. Tennent, Egyptian monuments seems to have 
1859, vol. i. p. 485 ; also J. Crawfurd been the lied goose of Egypt. 

on the ' Relation of Domest. Animals 21 Macgillivrsy's 'British Birds,' 

to Civilisation,' read before Brit. vol. iv. p. 593. 
Assoc. 1860. See also ' Ornamental 

Chap. VIII. 



young of which can easily be tamed. 22 This species, when 
crossed with the domestic goose, produced in the Zoological 
Gardens, as I was assured in 1849, perfectly fertile offspring. 23 
Yarrell 24 has observed that the lower part of the trachea of 
the domestic goose is sometimes flattened, and that a ring of 
white feathers sometimes surrounds the base of the beak. 
These characters seem at first sight good indications of a 
cross at some former period with the white-fronted goose 
{A. albifrons) ; but the white ring is variable in this latter 
species, and we must not overlook the law of analogous varia- 
tion ; that is, of one species assuming some of the characters 
of allied species. 

As the goose has proved so little flexible in its organization 
under long-continued domestication, the amount of variation 
which it has undergone may be worth giving. It has increased 
in size and in productiveness ; 25 and varies from white to a 
dusky colour. Several observers 26 have stated that the 
gander is more frequently white than the goose, and that 
when old it almost invariably becomes white ; but this is not 
the case with the parent-form, the A. ferus. Here, again, the 
law of analogous variation may have come into play, as the 
almost snow-white male of the Hock goose (Bernicla antarctica) 
standing on the sea- shore by his dusky partner is a sight 
well known to those who have traversed the sounds of Tierra 
del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. Some geese have top- 
knots ; and the skull beneath, as before stated, is perforated. 
A sub-breed has lately been formed with the feathers reversed 
at the back of the head and neck. 27 The beak varies a little 
in size, and is of a yellower tint than in the wild species ; but 

22 Mr. A. Strickland (' Annals and 
Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 3rd series, vol. 
iii. 1859, p. 122) reared some young 
wild geese, and found them in habits 
and in all characters identical with 
the domestic goose. 

23 See also Hunter's ' Essays,' edited 
by Owen, vol. ii. p. 322. 

24 Yarrell's ' British Birds,' vol. iii. 
p. 142. 

25 L. Lloyd, ' Scandinavian Adven- 
tures,' 1854, vol. ii. p. 413, says that 

the wild goose lays from five to eight 
eggs, which is a much fewer number 
than that laid by our domestic goose. 

26 The Rev. L. Jenyns seems first 
to have made this observation in his 
' British Animals.' See also Yarrell, 
and Dixon in his l Ornamental Poul- 
try ' (p. 139), and ' Gardener's Chroni- 
cle,' 1857, p. 45. 

27 Mr. Bartlet exhibited the head 
and neck of a bird thus characterise) 
before the Zoological Soc, Feb. 1860. 


its colour and that of the legs are "both slightly variable. 28 
This latter fact deserves attention, because the colour of the 
legs and beak is highly serviceable in discriminating the 
several closely allied wild forms. 29 At our Shows two breeds 
are exhibited ; viz. the Embden and Toulouse ; but they 
differ in nothing except colour. 30 Recently a smaller and 
singular variety has been imported from Sebastopol, 31 with 
the scapular feathers (as I hear from Mr. Tegetmeier, who 
sent me specimens) greatly elongated, curled, and even 
spirally twisted. The margins of these feathers are rendered 
plumose by the divergence of the barbs and barbules, so that 
they resemble in some degree those on the back of the black 
Australian swan. These feathers are likewise remarkable 
from the central shaft, which is excessively thin and trans- 
parent, being split into fine filaments, which, after running for 
a space free, sometimes coalesce again. It is a curious fact that 
these filaments are regularly clothed on each side with fine 
down or barbules, precisely like those on the proper barbs of 
the feather. This structure of the feathers is transmitted to 
half-bred birds. In Gallus sonneratii the barbs and barbules 
blend together, and form thin horny plates of the same nature 
with the shaft : in this variety of the goose, the shaft divides 
into filaments which acquire barbules, and thus resemble true 

Although the domestic goose certainly differs somewhat 
from any known wild species, yet the amount of variation 
which it has undergone, as compared with that of most 
domesticated animals, is singularly small. This fact can be 
partially accounted for by selection not having come largely 
into play. Birds of all kinds which present many distinct 
races are valued as pets or ornaments ; no one makes a pet of 
the goose ; the name, indeed, in more languages than one, is 
a term of reproach. The goose is valued for its size and 
flavour, for the whiteness of its feathers which adds to their 

23 W. Thompson, ' Natural Hist, of and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 3rd series, 

Ireland,' 1851, vol. iii. p. 31. The vol hi. 1859 p. 122. 
Rev. E. S. Dixon gave me some infer- 30 ' Poultry Chronicle,' vol. i., 1854 s 

mation on the varying colour of the p. 498; vol. iii. p. 210. 
beak and legs. 31 ' The Cottage Gardener,' Sept 

29 Mr. A. Strickland, in 'Annals 4th, 1860, p. 348. 

Chap. VIII. PEACOCK. 305 

value, and for its prolificness and tameness. In all these 
points the goose differs from the wild parent-form ; and these 
are the points which have been selected. Even in ancient 
limes the Roman gourmands valued the liver of the white 
goose; and Pierre Belon 32 in 1555 speaks of two varieties, 
one of which was larger, more fecund, and of a better colour 
than the other ; and he expressly states that good managers 
attended to the colour of their goslings, so that they might 
know which to preserve and select for breeding. 

The Peacock. 

This is another bird which has hardly varied under domesti- 
cation, 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. Sciater as a 
distinct species, viz. Pavo nigripennis, which he believes will 
hereafter be found wild in some country, but not in India, 
where it is certainly unknown. The males of these japanned 
birds differ conspicuously from the common peacock in the 
colour of their secondary wing-fea.thers, scapulars, wing- 
coverts, and thighs, and are I think more beautiful ; they 
are rather smaller than the common sort, and are always 
beaten by them in their battles, as I hear from the Hon. 
A. S. G. Canning. The females are much paler coloured than 
those of the common kind. Both sexes, as Mr. Canning 

32 ' L'Hist. de la Nature desOiseaux,' being preferred by the Romans, see 
par P. Belon, 1555, p. 156. With Isid. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, ' Hist, Nat. 
respect to the livers of white geese Gen.,' torn. iii. p. 58. 

306 PEACOCK. Chap. VIII. 

informs me, are white when they leave the egg, and they differ 
from the young of the white variety only in having a peculiar 
pinkish tinge on their wings. These japanned birds, though 
appearing suddenly in flocks of the common kind, propagate 
their kind quite truly. Although they do not resemble 
the hybrids which have been raised between P. cristatus and 
muticus, nevertheless they are in some respects intermediate in 
character between these two species ; and this fact favours, 
as Mr. Sclater believes, the view that they form a distinct 
and natural species. 33 

On the other hand, Sir K. Heron states 34 that this breed 
suddenly appeared within his memory in Lord Brownlow's 
large stock of pied, white, and common peacocks. The same 
thing occurred in Sir J. Trevelyan's flock composed entirely 
of the common kind, and in Mr. Thornton's stock of common 
and pied peacocks. It is remarkable that in these two latter 
instances the black- shouldered kind, though a smaller and 
weaker bird, increased, " to the extinction of the previously 
existing breed." I have also received through Mr. Sclater a 
statement from Mr. Hudson Gurney that he reared many 
years ago a pair of black-shouldered peacocks from the 
common kind ; and another ornithologist, Prof. A. Newton, 
states that, five or six years ago, a female bird, in all respects 
similar to the female of the black-shouldered kind, was 
produced from a stock of common peacocks in his possession, 
which during more than twenty years had not been crossed 
with birds of any other strain. Mr. Jenner Weir informs 
me that a peacock at Blackheath whilst young was white, 
but as it became older gradually assumed the characters of the 
black-shouldered variety ; both its parents were common 
peacocks. Lastly, Mr. Canning has given a case of a female 
of this same variety appearing in Ireland in a flock of the 
ordinary kind. 35 Here, then, we have seven well authenticated 

33 Mr. Sclater on the black-shoul- feels very doubtful on this head, 

dered peacock of Latham, ' Proc. 34 ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' April 14th, 

Zoolog. Soc.,' April 24th, 1860. Mr. 1835. 

Swinhoe at one time believed (< Ibis,' 35 The Field, May 6th, 1871. I 

July, 1868) that this kind of pea- am much indebted to Mr. Canning 

fowl was found wild in Cochin China, for information with respect to his 

hut he has since informed me that he birds. 

Chap. VIII. PEACOCK. 307 

cases in Great Britain of japanned birds, having suddenly 
appeared within recent times in flocks of the common pea- 
fowl. This variety must also have formerly appeared 
in Europe, for Mr. Canning has seen an old picture, and 
another is referred to in the ' Field,' with this variety 
represented. These facts seem to me to indicate that the 
japanned peacock is a strongly marked variety or " sport," 
which tends at all times and in many places to reappear. 
This view is supported by the young being at first white 
like the young of the white breed, which is undoubtedly a 
variation. If, on the other hand, we believe the japanned 
peacock to be a distinct species, we must suppose that in all the 
above cases the common breed had at some former period been 
crossed by it, but had lost every trace of the cross; yet 
that the offspring of these birds suddenly and completely 
reacquired through reversion the characters of P. nigripennis. 
I have heard of no other such case in the animal or vegetable 
kingdom. To perceive the full improbability of such an 
occurrence, we may suppose that a breed of dogs had been 
crossed at some former period with a wolf, but had lost every 
trace of the wolf-like character, yet that the breed gave birth 
in seven instances in the same country, within no great 
length of time, to a wolf perfect in every character ; and we 
must further suppose that in two of the cases, the newly 
produced wolves afterwards spontaneously increased to 
such an extent as to lead to the extinction of the parent 
breed of dogs. So remarkable a bird as the P. Nigripennis, 
when first imported, would have realized a large price ; it is 
therefore improbable that it should have been silently in- 
troduced and its history subsequently lost. On the whole 
the evidence seems to me, as it did to Sir E. Heron, to be 
decisive in favour of the japanned or black-shouldered breed 
being a variation, induced by some unknown cause. On this 
view, the case is the most remarkable one ever recorded of 
the abrupt appearance of a new form, which so closely 
resembles a true species that it has deceived me of the most 
experienced of living ornithologists. 



Chap. VIIT. 

The Turkey. 

It seems fairly wdl established by Mr. Gould, 36 that the 
turkey, in accordance with the history of its first intro- 
duction, is descended from a wild Mexican form, which had 
been domesticated by the natives before the discovery 
of America, and which is now generally ranked as a local 
race, and not as a distinct species. However this may be, 
the case deserves notice because in the United States wild 
male turkeys sometimes court the domestic hens, which are 
descended from the Mexican form, "and are generally received 
by them with great pleasure." 37 Several accounts have 
likewise been published of young birds, reared in the United 
States from the eggs of the wild species, crossing and com- 
mingling with the common breed. In England, also, this 
same species has been kept in several parks ; from two of 
which the Eev. W. D. Fox procured birds, and they crossed 
freely with the common domestic kind, and during many 
years afterwards, as he informs me, the turkeys in his neigh- 
bourhood clearly showed traces of their crossed parentage. 
We here have an instance of a domestic race being modified 
by a cross with a distinct wild race or species. F. Michaux 38 
suspected in 1802 that the common domestic turkey was not 
descended from the United States species alone, but likewise 
from a southern form, and he went so far as to believe that 
English and French turkeys differed from having different 
proportions of the blood of the two parent-forms. 

English turkeys are smaller than either wild form. They 
have not varied in any great degree ; but there are some 
breeds which can be distinguished— as Korfolks, Suffolks, 
Whites, and Copper-coloured (or Cambridge), ail of which, 

3fi « Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' April 8th, 
1856, p. 61. Prof. Baird believes (as 
quoted in TegetmeierV Poultry Book,' 
1866, p. 269) that our turkeys are 
descended from a West Indian species 
now extinct. But besides the impro- 
bability of a bird having long ago 
become extinct in these large and 
luxuriant islands, it appears (as we 
shall presently see) that the tarkey 

degenerates in India, and this fact 
indicates that it was not aboriginally 
an inhabitant of the lowlands of the 

37 Audubon's ' Ornithological Bio- 
graphy.,' vol. i., 1831, pp. 4-13; and 
' Naturalist's Library,' vol. xiv., Birds, 
p. 138. 

38 F. Michaux, ' Travels in N. Ame- 
rica,' 1802, Eng. translat., p. 217. 

Chap. VIII. TURKEY. 309 

if precluded from crossing with other breeds propagate their 
kind truly. Of these kinds, the most distinct is the small, 
hardy, dull-black Norfolk turkey, of which the chickens are 
black, occasionally with white patches about the head. The 
other breeds scarcely differ except in colour, and their chickens 
are generally mottled all over with brownish-grey. 39 The in- 
ferior tail-coverts var} 7 in number, and according to a German 
superstition the hen lays as many eggs as the cock has 
feathers of this kind. 40 Albin in 1738, and Temminck within a 
much later period, describe a beautiful breed, dusky-yellowish, 
brown above and white beneath, with a large top-knot of 
soft plumose feather. The spurs of the male were rudimentary. 
This breed has been for a long time extinct in Europe; but 
a living specimen has lately been imported from the east 
coast of Africa, which still retains the top-knot and the 
same general colouring and rudimentary spurs. 41 Mr. Wilmot 
has described 42 a white turkej^-cock having a crest formed of 
" feathers about four inches long, with bare quills, and a tuft 
of soft white down growing at the end." Many of the 
young birds inherited this kind of crest, but afterwards 
it fell off or was pecked out by the other birds. This is an 
interesting case, as with care a new breed might probably 
have been formed ; and a top-knot of this nature would have 
been to a certain extent analogous to that borne by the males 
in several allied genera, such as Euplocomus, Lophophorus, 
and Pavo. 

Wild turkeys, believed in ever} 7 - instance to have been im- 
ported from the United States, have been kept in the parks 
of Lords Powis, Leicester, Hill, and Derby. The Eev. W. I). 
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. 

39 'Ornamental Poetry,' by the Oct. 31, 1868, p. 233; and Mr. 
Rev. E. S. Dixon, 1848, p". 34. " Tegetmeier in the 'Field,' July 17, 

40 Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. Deutsch- 1869, p. 46. 

lands,' B. iii., 1793, s. 309. 42 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1852, p. 

41 Mr. Bartlett in ' Land and Water,' 699 . 


Egerton, though precluded from crossing with common 
turkeys, occasionally produced much paler-coloured birds, 
and one that was almost white, but not an albino. These 
half-wild turkeys, in thus differing slightly from each other, 
present an analogous case with the wild cattle kept in the 
several British parks. We must suppose that such differences 
have resulted from the prevention of free intercrossing 
between birds ranging over a wide area, and from the 
changed conditions to which they have been exposed in 
England. In India the climate has apparently wrought a 
still greater change in the turkey, for it is described by Mr. 
Blyth 43 as being much degenerated in size, " utterly in- 
capable of rising on the wing," of a black colour, and " with 
the long pendulous appendages over the beak enormously 

The Guinea Fowl. 

The domesticated Guinea fowl is now believed by some 
naturalists to be descended from the Numida pUlorhynca, which 
inhabits very hot, and, in parts, extreme' y arid districts in 
Eastern Africa ; consequently it has been exposed in this 
country to extremely different conditions of life. Nevertheless 
it has hardly varied at all, except in the plumage being either 
paler or darker- coloured. It is a singular fact that this bird 
varies more in colour in the West Indies and on the Spanish 
Main, under a hot though humid climate, than in Europe. 44 
The Guinea fowl has become thoroughly feral in Jamaica and 
in St. Domingo, 45 and has diminished in size ; the legs are 
black, whereas the legs of the aboriginal African bird are 
said to be grey. This small change is worth notice on 
account of the often-repeated statement that all feral animals 
invariably revert in every character to their original type. 

43 E. Blyth, in 'Annals and Mag. singular pale-coloured varieties im- 
of Nat. Hist.,' 1847, vol. xx. p. 391. ported from BarbaJoes and Demerara. 

44 Roulin makes this remark in 45 For St. Domingo, see M. A. 
'Mem. de divers Savans, l'Acad. des Salle, in ' Proc. Zoolog. Soc' 1857, p. 
Sciences,' torn, vi., 1835, p. 349. Mr. 236. Mr. Hill remarks to me, in his 
Hill, of Spanish Town, in a letter to letter, on the colour of the legs of the 
me, describes five varieties of the feral birds in Jamaica. 

Guinea fowl in Jamaica. I have seen 


The Canary Bird. 

As this bird has been recently domesticated, namely, within 
the last 350 years, its variability deserves notice. It has been 
crossed with nine or ten other species of Fringillidse, and 
some of the hybrids are almost completely fertile ; but we 
have no evidence that any distinct breed has originated from 
such crosses. Notwithstanding the modern domestication of 
the canary, many varieties have been produced ; even before 
the year 1718 a list of twenty-seven varieties was published 
in France, 46 and in 1779 a long schedule of the desired quali- 
ties was printed by the London Canary Society, so that 
methodical selection has been practised during a considerable 
period. The greater number of the varieties differ only in 
colour and in the markings of their plumage. Some breeds 
however, differ in shape, such as the hooped or bowed canaries, 
and the Belgian canaries with their much elongated bodies. 
Mr. Brent 47 measured one of the latter and found it eight 
inches in length, whilst the wild canary is only five and a 
quarter inches long. There are top-knotted canaries, and it is 
a singular fact that, if two top-knotted birds are matched, the 
young, instead of having very fine top-knots, are generally 
bald, or even have a wound on their heads. 48 It would 
appear as if the top -knot were due to some morbid condition, 
which is increased to an injurious degree when two birds in 
this state are paired. There is a feather-footed breed, and 
another with a kind of frill running down the breast. One 
other character deserves notice from being confined to one 
period of life, and from being strictly inherited at the same 
period ; namely, the wing and tail feathers in prize canaries 
being black, " but this colour is retained only until the first 
moult; once moulted, the peculiarity ceases." 49 Canaries 

46 Mr. B. P. Brent, 'The Canarv, <8 Bechstein, ' Naturgesch. dsr Stu- 
British Finches,' &c, pp. 21, 30. benvogel,' 1840, s. 243; see s. 252, on 

47 'Cottage Gardener,' Dec. 11th, the inherited song of Canary-birds. 
1855, p. 184: an account is here With respect to their baldness, see 
given of all the varitties. For many also W. Kidd's 'Treatise on Song- 
measurements of the wild birds, see Birds.' 

Mr. E. Vernon Harcourt, ibid., Dec. 49 W. Kidd's 'Treat ire on Song- 

25th, 1855, p. 223. Birds,' p. 18 

312 GOLD-FISH. Chap. VIII. 

differ much in disposition and character, and in some small 
degree in song. They produce eggs three or four times during 
the year. 


Besides mammals and birds, only a few animals belonging to 
the other great classes have been domesticated ; but to show 
that it is an almost universal law that animals, when removed 
from their natural conditions of life, vary, and that races can 
be formed when selection is applied, it is necessary to say a 
few words on gold-fish, bees, and silk-moths. 

Gold-fish (Cyprinas auratus) were introduced into Europe 
only two or three centuries ago ; but they have been kept in 
confinement from an ancient period in China. Mr. Blyth 50 
suspects, from the analogous variation of other fishes, that 
golden-coloured fish do not occur in a state of nature. These 
fishes frequently live under the most unnatural conditions, 
and their variability in colour, size, and in some important 
points of structure is very great. M. Sauvigny has described 
and given coloured drawings of no less than eighty-nine 
varieties. 51 Many of the varieties, however, such as triple 
tail-fins, &c, ought to be called monstrosities ; but it is diffi- 
cult to draw any distinct line between a variation and a 
monstrosity. As gold-fish are kept for ornament or curiosity, 
and as " the Chinese are just the people to have secluded a 
chance variety of any kind, and to have matched and paired 
from it," 52 it might have been predicted that selection 
would have been largely practised in the formation of new 
breeds ; and this is the case. In an old Chinese work it is 
said that fish with vermilion scales were first raised in con- 
finement during the Sung dynasty (which commenced a.d. 
960), "and now they are cultivated in families every where for 
the sake of ornament." In another and more ancient work, it is 
said that " there is not a household where the gold-fish is not 
cultivated, in rivalry as to its colour, and as a source of 
profit," &c. 53 Although many breeds exist, it is a singular 

50 The « Indian Field,' 1858, p. 255. 1858, p. 255. 

51 Yarrell's ' British Fishes,' vol. i. " W. F. Mayers, * Chinese Notes 
p. 319. and Queries,' Aug. 1868 p. 123. 

32 Mr. Blyth, in the ' Indian Field.' 

Chap. VIII. HIVE-BEES. 313 

fact that the variations are often not inherited. Sir K. 
Heron 54 kept many of these fishes, and placed all the de- 
formed ones, namely, those destitute of dorsal fins and those 
furnished with a double anal fin, or triple tail, in a pond by 
themselves ; but they did " not produce a greater proportion 
of deformed offspring than the perfect fishes." 

Passing over an almost infinite diversity of colour, we meet 
with the most extraordinary modifications of structure. Thus, 
out of about two dozen specimens bought in London, Mr. 
Yarrell observed some with the dorsal fin extending along 
more than half the length of the back : others with this fin 
reduced to only five or six rays : and one with no dorsal fin. 
The anal fins are sometimes double, and the tail is often triple. 
This latter deviation of structure seems generally to occur 
" at the expense of the whole or part of some other fin ; " 55 
but Bory de Saint-Vincent 56 saw at Madrid gold-fish furnished 
with a dorsal fin and a triple tail. One variety is characterised 
by a hump on its back near the head ; and the Kev. L. 
Jenyns 57 has described a most singular variety, imported 
from China, almost globular in form like a Diodon, with "the 
fleshy part of the tail as if entirely cut away ? the caudal fin 
being set on a little behind the dorsal and immediately above 
the anal." In this fish the anal and caudal fins were double ; 
the anal fin being attached to the body in a vertical line : 
the eyes also were enormously large and protuberant. 


Bees have been domesticated from an ancient period; if 
indeed their state can be considered one of domestication, for 
they search for their own food, with the exception of a little 
generally given to them during the winter. Their habitation 
is a hive instead of a hole in a tree. Bees, however, have 

54 * Proc. Zoolog. Soc.,' May 25th, 57 ' Observations in Nat. Hist.,' 
184-2. 18-16, p. 211. Dr. Gray has described, 

55 Yarrell's 'British Fishes,' vol. i. in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,' 
p. 319. 1860, p. 151, a nearly similar variety, 

56 ' Diet. Class. d'Hist. Nat.,' torn. but destitute of a dorsal tin. 
v. p. 276. 



Chap. VUT. 

been transported into almost every quarter of the world, so 
that climate ought to have produced whatever direct effect 
it is capable of producing. It is frequently asserted that 
the bees in different parts of Great Britain differ in size, 
colour, and temper; and Godron 58 says that they are 
generally larger in the south than in other parts of France ; 
it has also been asserted that the little brown bees of Hi^h 
Burgundy, when transported to La Bresse become large 
and yellow in the second generation. But these statements 
require confirmation. As far as size is concerned, it is known 
that bees produced in very old combs are smaller, owing to 
the cells having become smaller from the successive old 
cocoons. The best authorities 59 concur that, with the 
exception of the Ligurian race or species, presently to be 
mentioned, distinct breeds do not exist in Britain or on the 
Continent. There is, however, even in the same stock, some 
variability in colour. Thus, Mr. Woodbury states, 60 that he 
has several times seen queen bees of the common kind annu- 
lated 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 differ- 
ence in the queens or workers of the same hive. The great 
apiarian, Dzierzon, in answer to my queries on this subject, 
says, 61 that in Germany bees of some stocks are decidedly 
dark, whilst others are remarkable for their yellow colour. 
Bees also seem to differ in habits in different districts, for 
Dzierzon adds, " If many stocks with their offspring are more 
inclined to swarm, whilst others are richer in honey, so that 
some bee-keepers even distinguish between swarming and 
honey-gathering bees, this is a habit which has become second 
nature, caused by the customary mode of keeping the bees 

58 <De l'Espece,' 1859, p. 459. 
With respect to the bees of Burgundy, 
see M. Gerai'd, art. ' Espece,' in ' Diet. 
Univers. d'Hist. Nat.' 

59 See a discussion on this subject, 
in answer to a question of mine, in 
' Journal of Horticulture,' 1862, pp. 
225-242; also Mr. Bevan Fox, in 
ditto, 1862, p. 284 

60 This excellent observer may be 

implicitly trusted ; see l Journal of 
Horticulture,' July 14th, 1863, p. 39. 
61 'Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 
9th, 1862, p. 463; see also Herr 
Kleine on same subject (Nov. 11th, p. 
643), who sums up, that, though 
there is some variability in colour, no 
constant or perceptible differences can 
be detected in the bees of Germany. 

Chap. VIII. HIVE-BEES. 315 

and the pasturage of the district. For example, what a 
difference in this respect one may perceive to exist between 
the bees of the Luneburg heath and those of this country ! " 

" Eemoving 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 Hanovei 
would certainly be of no avail."' I procured a hive full oJ 
dead bees from Jamaica, where they have long been natural- 
ised, and, on carefully comparing them under the microscope 
with my own bees, I could detect not a trace of difference. 

This remarkable uniformity in the hive-bee, wherever kept, 
may probably be accounted for by the great difficulty, or 
rather impossibility, of bringing selection into play by pairing 
particular queens and drones, for these insects unite only 
during flight. Nor is there any record, with a single partial 
exception, of any person having separated and bred from a 
hive in which the workers presented some appreciable differ- 
ence. 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 German} 7 and England, 
it has been found that the drones wander at least two miles 
from their own hives, and often cross with the queens of the 
common bee. 62 The Ligurian bee. although perfectly fertile 
when crossed with the common kind, is ranked by most 
naturalists as a distinct species, whilst by others it is ranked 
as a variety : but this form need not here be noticed, as there 
is no reason to believe that it is the jjroduct of domestica- 
tion. The Egyptian and some other bees are likewise ranked 
by Dr. Gerstacker, 63 but not by other highly competent 
judges, as geographical races ; he grounds his conclusion 
in chief part on the fact that in certain districts, as in the 
Crimea and Ehodes, they vary so much in colour, that the 
several geographical races can be closely connected by inter- 
mediate forms. 

I have alluded to a single instance of the separation and 

02 Mr. Woodbury has published 63 ' Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist., 

several such accounts in ' Journal of 3rd series, vol. xi. p. 339. 
Horticulture,' 1861 and 1862. 

316 SILK-MOTHS. Chap. VIII. 

preservation of a particular stock of bees. Mr. Lowe 64 pro- 
cured some bees from a cottager a few miles from Edinburgh, 
and perceived that they differed from the common bee in the 
hairs on the head and thorax being lighter coloured and more 
profuse in quantity. From the date of the introduction of 
the Ligurian bee into Great Britain we may feel sure that 
these bees had not been crossed with this form. Mr. Lowe 
propagated this variety, but unfortunately did not separate 
the stock from his other bees, and after three generations the 
new character was almost completely lost. Nevertheless, as 
he adds, " a great number of the bees still retain traces, 
though faint, of the original colony." This case shows us 
what could probably be effected by careful and long- 
continued selection applied exclusively to the workers, for, 
as we have seen, queens and drones cannot be selected and 


These insects are in several respects interesting to us, more 
especially because they have varied largely at an early period 
of life, and the variations have been inherited at correspond- 
ing periods. As the value of the silk-moth depends entirely 
on the cocoon, every change in its structure and qualities has 
been carefully attended to, and races differing much in the 
cocoon, but hardly at all in the adult state, have been pro- 
duced. With the races of most other domestic animals, the 
young resemble each other closely, whilst the adults differ 

It would be useless, even if it were possible, to describe all 
the many kinds of silk-worms. Several distinct species exist 
in India and China which produce useful silk, and some of 
these are capable of freely crossing with the common silk- 
moth, as has been recently ascertained in France. Captain 
Hutton 65 states that throughout the world at least six species 
have been domesticated ; and he believes that the silk-moths 
reared in Europe belong to two or three species. This, how- 

64 'The Cottage Gardener,' May, 65 ' Transact. Entomolog. Soc.,' 3rd 

i860, p. 110; and ditto in 'Journal series, vol. iii. pp. 143-173, and pp. 
of Hort.,' 1862, p. 242. 295-331. 


ever, is Dot the opinion of several capable judges who have 
particularh r attended to the cultivation of this insect in 
France ; and hardly accords with some facts presently to be 

The common silk-moth (Bombyx mori) was brought to Con- 
stantinople in the sixth century, whence it was carried into 
Italy, and in 1494 into France. 66 Everything has been 
favourable for the variation of this insect. It is believed 
to have been domesticated in China as long ago as 2700 B.C. 
It has been kept under unnatural and diversified conditions 
of life, and has been transported into many countries. There 
is reason to believe that the nature of the food given to the 
caterpillar influences to a certain extent the character of the 
breed. 67 Disuse has apparently aided in checking the develop- 
ment of the wings. But the most important element in the 
production of the many now existing, much modified races, 
no doubt has been the close attention which has long been 
applied in many countries to every promising variation. 
The care taken in Europe in the selection of the best cocoons 
and moths for breeding is notorious, 68 and the production of 
eggs is followed as a distinct trade in parts of France. I 
have made inquiries through Dr. Falconer, and am assured 
that in India the natives are equally careful in the process 
of selection. In China the production of eggs is confined to 
certain favourable districts, and the raisers are precluded by 
law from producing silk, so that their whole attention may 
be necessarily given up to this one object. 69 

The following details on the differences between the several 
breeds are taken, when not stated to the contrary, from M. Eobinet's 
excellent work, 70 which bears every sign of care and large experi- 
ence. 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 

66 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' 1859, torn. 68 See, for instance, M. A.. deQuatre- 
i. p. 460. The antiquity of the silk- fages' ' Etudes sur les Maladies actu- 
worm in China is given on the elles du Ver a Soie,' 1859, p. 101. 
authority of Stanislas Julien. 69 My authorities for the statements 

67 See the remarks of Prof. West- will be given in the chapter on Selec- 
wood, Gen. Hearsey, and others, at tion. 

the meeting of the Entomolog. Soc. of 70 ' Manuel de l'Educateur de Vera 

London, July, 1361. a Soie,' 1848. 


hatch until the following spring ; and it is in vain, says M. Eobinet, 
to expose them to a temperature gradually raised, in order that the 
caterpillar may be quickly developed. Yet occasionally, without 
any known cause, batches of eggs are produced, which immediately 
begin to undergo the proper changes, and are hatched in from 
twenty to thirty days. From these and some other analogous facts 
it may be concluded that the Trevoltini silkworms of Italy, of which 
the caterpillars are hatched in from fifteen to twenty days, do not 
necessarily form, as has been maintained, a distinct species. 
Although the breeds which live in temperate countries produce 
eggs which cannot be immediately hatched by artificial heat, yet 
when they are removed to and reared in a hot country they 
gradually acquire the character of quick development, as in the 
Trevoltini races. 71 

Caterpillars. — These vary greatly in size and colour. The skin 
is generally white, sometimes mottled with black or grey, and 
occasionally quite black. The colour, however, as M. Eobinet 
asserts, is not constant, even in perfectly pure breeds ; except in 
the race tigree, so called from being marked with transverse black 
stripes. As the general colour of the caterpillar is not correlated 
with that of the silk, 72 this character is disregarded by cultivators, 
and has not been fixed by selection. Captain Hutton, in the paper 
before referred to, has argued with much force that the dark tiger- 
like marks, which so frequently appear during the later moults in 
the caterpillars of various breeds, are due to reversion ; for the 
caterpillars of several allied wild species of Bombyx are marked 
and coloured in this manner. He separated some caterpillars with 
the tiger-like marks, and in the succeeding spring (pp. 149, 298) 
nearly all the caterpillars reared from them were dark-brindled, and 
the tints became still darker in the third generation. The moths 
reared from these caterpillars 73 also became darker, and resembled 
in colouring the wild B. huttoni. On this view of the tiger-like 
marks being due to reversion, the persistency with which they are 
transmitted is intelligible. 

Several years ago Mrs. Whitby took great pains in breeding 
silkworms on a large scale, and she informed me that some of her 
caterpillars had dark eyebrows. This is probably the first step in 
reversion towards the tiger-like marks, and I was curious to know 
whether so trifling a character would be inherited. At my request 

71 Robinet, ibid., pp. 12, 318. I would ultimately have been acquired, 

may add that the eggs of N. American See review in 'Athenaeum,' 1844-, p. 

silkworms taken to the Sandwich 329, of J. Jarves' 'Scenes in the 

Islands produced moths at very irre- Sandwich Islands.' 

gular periods ; and the moths thus 72 ' The Art of rearing Silk-worms,' 

raised yielded eggs which were even translated from Count Dandolo, 1825, 

worse in this respect. Some were p. 23. 

hatched in ten days, and others not 73 'Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, 

until after the lapse of many months. pp. 153, 308. 
No doubt a regular early character 

Chap. VIII. their differences. 319 

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 occasion- 
ally 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 74 states that, 
on the one hand, ordinary caterpillars occasionally spin their 
cocoons after only three moults, and, on the other hand, " presque 
toutes les races a trois mues, que nous avons experimentees, ont 
fait quatre mues a la seconde ou a la troisieme annee, ce qui 
semble prouver qu'il a suffi de les placer dans des conditions 
favorables pour leur rendre une faculte qu'elles avaient perdue sous 
des influences moins favorables." 

Cocoons. — The caterpillar in changing into the cocoon loses about 
50 per cent, of its weight ; but the amount of loss differs in different 
breeds, and this is of importance to the cultivator. The cocoon in 
the different races presents characteristic differences; being large 
or small ; — nearly spherical with no constriction, as in the Race de 
Loriol, or cylindrical, with either a deep or slight constriction in the 
middle; with the two ends, or with one end alone, more or less 
pointed. The silk varies in fineness and quality, and in being 
nearly white, but of two tints, or yellow. Generally the colour of 
the silk is not strictly inherited : but in the chapter on Selection I 
shall give a curious account how, in the course of sixty-five genera- 
tions, the number of yellow cocoons in one breed has been reduced 
in Trance 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." 75 Cocoons are sometimes formed, as is 
well known, entirely destitute of silk, which yet produce moths ; 
unfortunately Mrs. Whitby was prevented by an accident from 
ascertaining whether this character would prove 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 hnv« 

74 Robinet, ibid., p. 317 » Robinet, ibid., pp. 306-317. 


received a similar statement from the eminent naturalist, M. fie 
Quatrefages. Caj:>tain Hntton also says 76 that the moths of all 
kinds vary mnch in colour, but in nearly the same inconstant 
manner. Considering how much the cocoons in the several races 
differ, this fact is of interest, and may probably be accounted for 
on the same principle as the fluctuating variability of colour in the 
caterpillar, namely, that there has been no motive for selecting and 
perpetuating any particular variation. 

The males of the wild Bombycidse " fly swiftly in the day-time 
and evening, but the females are usually very sluggish and 
inactive." 77 In several moths of this family the females have 
abortive wings, but no instance is known of the males being 
incapable of flight, for in this case the species could hardly have 
been perpetuated. In the silk-moth both sexes have imperfect, 
crumpled wings, and are incapable of flight ; but still there is a 
trace of the characteristic difference in the two sexes ; for though, 
on comparing a number of males and females, I could detect no 
difference in the development of their wings, yet I was assured by 
Mrs. Whitby that the males of the moths bred by her used their 
wings more than the females, and could flutter downwards, though 
never upwards. She also states that, hen the females first 
emerge from the cocoon, their wings are less expanded than those 
of the male. The degree of imperfection, however, in the wings 
varies much in different races and under different circumstances. 
M. Quatrefages 78 says that he has seen a number of moths with 
their wings reduced to a third, fourth, or tenth part of their normal 
dimensions, and even to mere short straight stumps : " il me semble 
qu'il y a la un veritable arret de developpement partiel." On the 
other hand, he describes the female moths of the Andre Jean breed 
as having " leurs ailes larges et etalees. Un seul presente quelques 
courbures irregulieres et des plis anormaux." As moths and butter- 
flies of all kinds reared from wild caterpillars under confinement 
often have crippled wings, the same cause, whatever it may be, has 
probably acted on silk-moths, but the disuse of their wings during 
so many generations has, it may be suspected, likewise come into 

The moths of many breeds fail to glue their eggs to the surface 
on which they are laid, 79 but this proceeds, according to Capt. 
Hutton, 80 merely from the glands of the ovipositor being weakened. 

As with other long- domesticated animals, the instincts of the 
silk-moth have suffered. The caterpillars, when placed on a mul- 
berry-tree, often commit the strange mistake of devouring the 
base of the leaf on which they are feeding, and consequently fall 

76 ' Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, 78 ' Etudes sur les Maladies du Ver 
p. 317. a Soie,' 1859, pp. 304, 209. 

77 Stephen's Illustrations, ' Haus- 79 Quatrefages, ' Etudes,' &c, p. 
tellata,' vol. ii. p. 35. See also Capt. 214. 

Hutton, 'Transact. Ent. Soc' ibid,, 80 'Transact. Ent. Soc.,' ut supra, 

p. 152. p. 151. 


down ; but they are capable, according to M. Eobinet, 81 of again 
crawling up the trunk. Even this capacity sometimes fails, for 
M. Martins 82 placed some caterpillars on a tree, and those which 
fell were not able to remount and perished of hunger ; they were 
even incapable of passing from leaf to leaf. 

Some of the modifications which the silk-moth has undergone 
stand in correlation with one another. Thus, the eggs of the moths 
which produce white cocoons and of those which produce yellow 
cocoons differ slightly in tint. The abdominal feet, also, of the 
caterpillars which yield white cocoons are always white, whilst 
those which give yellow cocoons are invariably yellow. 83 We have 
seen that the caterpillars with dark tiger-like stripes produce 
moths which are more darkly shaded than other moths. It seems 
well established u that in France the caterpillars of the races which 
produce white silk, and certain black caterpillars, have resisted, 
better than other races, the disease which has recently devastated 
the silk-districts. Lastly, the races differ constitutionally, for some 
do not succeed so well under a temperate climate as others ; and a 
damp soil does not equally injure all the races. 85 

From these various facts we learn that silk-moths, like the 
higher animals, vary greatly under long-continued domes- 
tication. We learn also the more important fact that varia- 
tions may occur at various periods of life, and be inherited at 
a corresponding period. And finally we see that insects are 
amenable to the great principle of Selection. 

81 'Manuel de l'Educateur,' &c, p. 12, 209, 214. 

26. 84 Robinet, * Manuel/ &c, p. 303. 

82 Godron, « De l'Espece,' p. 462. 85 Robinet, ibid., p. 15. 

83 Quatref'ages, 'Etudes,' &c, pp. 




PRELIMINARY REMARKS on the number and parentage of 


CEREALIA. — doubts on the number op species. wheat: varieties 




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






I shall not enter into so much detail on the variability of 
cultivated plants, as in the case of domesticated animals. 
The subject is involved in much difficulty. Botanists have 
generally neglected cultivated varieties, as beneath their 
notice. In several cases the wild prototype is unknown or 
doubtfully known ; and in other cases it is hardly possible to 
distinguish between escaped seedlings and truly wild plants, 
so that there is no safe standard of comparison by which to 
judge of any supposed amount of change. Not a few bota- 
nists 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 de- 
scended from one species, or from several inextricably com- 
mingled by crossing and variation. Variations often pass 
into, and cannot be distinguished from, monstrosities ; and 
monstrosities are of little significance for our purpose. Many 
varieties are propagated solely by grafts, buds, layers, bulbs, 
&c, and frequently it is not known how far their peculiarities 
can be transmitted by seminal generation. Nevertheless. 


some facts of' value can be gleaned : and other facts will 
hereafter be incidentally given. One chief object in the 
two following chapters is to show how many characters in 
our cultivated plants have become variable. 

Before entering on details a few general remarks on the 
origin of cultivated plants may be introduced. M. Alph. De 
Candolle 1 in an admirable discussion on this subject, in which 
he displays a wonderful amount of knowledge, gives a list of 
157 of the most useful cultivated plants. Of these he 
believes that 85 are almost certainly known in their wild 
state; but on this head other competent judges 2 entertain 
great doubts. Of 40 of them, the origin is admitted by M. 
De Candolle to be doubtful, either from a certain amount of 
dissimilarity which they present when compared with their 
nearest allies in a wild state, or from the probability of the 
latter not being truly wild plants, but seedlings escaped 
from culture. Of the entire 157, 32 alone are ranked by 
M. De Candolle as quite unknown in their aboriginal con- 
dition. But it should be. observed that he does not include 
in his list several plants which present ill-defined characters, 
namely, the various forms of pumpkins, millet, sorghum, 
kidney-bean, dolichos, capsicum, and indigo. Nor does he 
include flowers ; and several of the more anciently cultivated 
flowers, such as certain roses, the common Imperial lily, the 
tuberose, and even the lilac, are said 3 not to be known in the 
wild state. 

From the relative numbers above given, and from other 
arguments of much weight, M. De Candolle concludes that 
plants have rarely been so much modified by culture that 
they cannot be identified with their wild prototypes. But 
on this view, considering that savages probably would not 
have chosen rare plants for cultivation, that useful plants are 
generally conspicuous, and that they could not have been 
the inhabitants of deserts or of remote and recently discovered 

1 'Gebgraphie botanique raisonne'e,' Plants,' by Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti. 
1855, pp. 810 to 991. See also 'Edinburgh Review,' 1866, 

2 Review by Mr. Bentham in ' Hort. p. 510. 

Journal,' vol. ix. 1855, p. 133, entitled, 3 'Hist. Notes,' as above, by Tar- 

4 Historical Notes on cultivated gioni-Tozzetti. 


islands, it appears strange to me that so many of our culti- 
vated plants should be still unknown or only doubtfully 
known in the wild state. If, on the other hand, many of 
these plants have been profoundly modified by culture, the 
difficulty disappears. The difficulty would also be removed 
if they have been exterminated during the progress of civili- 
sation; but M. De Candolle has shown that this probably has 
seldom occurred. As soon as a plant was cultivated in any 
country, the half-civilised inhabitants would no longer have 
need to search the whole surface of the land for it, and thus 
lead to its extirpation ; and even if this did occur during a 
famine, dormant seeds would be left in the ground. In 
tropical countries the wild luxuriance of nature, as was long 
ago remarked by Humboldt, overpowers the feeble efforts of 
man. In anciently civilised temperate countries, where the 
whole face of the land has been greatty changed, it can hardly 
be doubted that some plants have become extinct ; never- 
theless De Candolle has shown that all the plants historically 
known to have been first cultivated in Europe still exist here 
in the wild state. 

MM. Loiseleur-Deslongchamps 4 and De Candolle have re- 
marked that our cultivated plants, more especially the cereals, 
must originally have existed in nearly their present state ; for 
otherwise they would not have been noticed and valued as 
objects of food. But these authors apparently have not con- 
sidered the many accounts given by travellers of the wretched 
food collected by savages. I have read an account of the 
savages of Australia cooking, during a dearth, many vegetables 
in various ways, in the hopes of rendering them innocuous and 
more nutritious. Dr. Hooker found the half-starved in- 
habitants of a village in Sikhim suffering greatly from 
having eaten arum-roots, 5 which they had pounded and left 
for several days to ferment, so as partially to destroy their 
poisonous nature ; and he adds that they cooked and ate many 

4 ' Considerations sur les Cereales,' des especes offrant a l'origine meme 

1842, p. 37. 'Geographic Bot.,' 1855, un avantage incontestable." 
p. 930. " Plus on suppose l'agricul- 5 Dr. Hooker has given me this 

ture ancienne et remontant a une information. See, also, his 'Himalayan 

£poque d'ignorance, plus il est probable Journals,' 1854, vol. ii. p. 49. 
que les cultivateurs tvaies choisi 


other deleterious plants. Sir Andrew Smith informs me that 
in South Africa a large number of fruits and succulent leaves, 
and especially roots, are used in times of scarcity. The 
natives, indeed, know the properties of a long catalogue of 
plants, some having been found during famines to be eatable, 
others injurious to health, or even destructive to life. He 
met a party of Baquanas who, having been expelled by the 
conquering Zulus, had lived for years on any roots or leaves 
which afforded some little nutriment and distended their 
stomachs, so as to relieve the pangs of hunger. They looked 
like walking skeletons, and suffered fearfully from con- 
stipation. Sir Andrew Smith also informs me that on such 
occasions the natives observe as a guide for themselves, what 
the wild animals, especially baboons and monkeys, eat. 

From innumerable experiments made through dire ne- 
cessity by the savages of every land, with the results handed 
down by tradition, the nutritious, stimulating, and medicinal 
properties of the most unpromising plants were probably 
first discovered. It appears, for instance, at first an in- 
explicable fact that untutored man, in three distant quarters 
of the world, should have discovered, amongst a host of 
native plants, that the leaves of the tea-plant and mattee, 
and the berries of the coffee, all included a stimulating and 
nutritious essence, now known to be chemically the same. 
We can also see that savages suffering from severe con- 
stipation would naturally observe whether any of the roots 
which they devoured acted as aperients. We probably owe 
our knowledge of the uses of almost all plants to man 
having originally existed in a barbarous state, and having 
been often compelled by severe want to try as food almost 
everything which he could chew and swallow. 

From what we know of the habits of savages in many 
quarters of the world, there is no reason to suppose that our 
cereal plants originally existed in their present state so 
valuable to man. Let us look to one continent alone, namely, 
Africa : Earth 6 states that the slaves over a large part of the 

6 'Travels in Central Africa,' Eng. ii. pp. 29, 265, 270 Livingstone':* 
Uanslat. vol. i. pp. 529 and 390 ; vol. 'Travels,' p. 551. 



Chap. IX. 

central region regularly collect the seeds of a wild grass, the 
Pennisetum distichum ; in another district he saw women 
collecting the seeds of a Poa by swinging a sort of basket 
through the rich meadow-land. Near Tete, Livingstone 
observed the natives collecting the seeds of a wild grass, and 
farther south, as Andersson informs me, the natives largely 
use the seed of a grass of about the size of canary-seed, which 
they boil in water. They eat also the roots of certain reeds, 
and every one has read of the Bushmen prowling about and 
digging up with a fire-hardened stake various roots. Similar 
facts with respect to the collection of seeds of wild grasses in 
other parts of the world could be given. 7 

Accustomed as we are to our excellent vegetables and 
luscious fruits, we can hardly persuade ourselves that the 
stringy roots of the wild carrot and parsnip, or the little 
shoots of the wild asparagus, or crabs, sloes, &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 Switzerland during the 
Stone period largely collected wild crabs, sloes, bullaces, hips 
of roses, elderberries, beechmast, and other wild berries and 
fruit. 8 Jemmy Button, a Fuegian on board the Beagle, 
remarked to me that the poor and acid black-currants of 
Tierra del Fuego were too sweet for his 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 

7 For instance, in both North and 
South America. Mr. Edgeworth 
('Journal Proc. Linn. Soc.,' vol vi. 
Bot., 1862, p. 181) states that in the 
deserts of the Punjab poor women 
sweep up, " by a whisk into straw 
baskets," the seeds of four genera of 
grasses, namely, of Agrostis, Panicum, 
Cenchrus, and Pennisetum, as well as 
the seeds of four other genera belong- 

ing to distinct families. 

8 Prof. 0. Hecr, ' Die Pflanzen der 
Pfahlbauten, 1866, aus dem Neujahr. 
Naturforsch. Gesellschaft,' 1866; and 
Dr. H. Christ, in Riitimeyer's 'Die 
Fauna der Pfahlbauten,' 1861, s. 226. 

9 ' Travels,' p. 5)55. Du Chaillu, 
'Adventures in Equatorial Africa,' 
1861, p. 445. 


seen nowhere else amongst the natives." But Du Chaillu 
saw a palm and some other wild fruit-trees which had been 
planted; and these trees were considered private property. 
The next step in cultivation, and this would require but little 
forethought, would be to sow the seeds of useful plants; 
and as the soil near the hovels of the natives 10 would often be 
in some degree manured, improved varieties would sooner or 
later arise. Or a wild and unusually good variety of a native 
plant might attract the attention of some wise old savage ; 
and he would transplant it, or sow its seed. That superior 
varieties of wild fruit-trees occasionally are found is certain, 
as in the case of the American species of hawthorns, plums, 
cherries, grapes, and hickories, specified by Professor Asa 
Gray. 11 Downing also refers to certain wild varieties of the 
hickory, as being "of much larger size and finer flavour than 
the common species." I have referred to American fruit-trees, 
because we are not in this case troubled with doubts whether 
or not the varieties are seedlings which have escaped from 
cultivation. Transplanting any superior variety, or sowing 
its seeds, hardly implies more forethought than might be 
expected at an early and rude period of civilisation. Even 
the Australian barbarians "have a law that no plant bearing 
seeds is to be dug up after it has flowered ; " and Sir G. Grey 12 
never saw this law, evidently framed for the preservation of 
the plant, violated. We see the same spirit in the super- 
stitious belief of the Fuegians, that killing water-fowl whilst 
very young will be followed by " much rain, snow, blow 
much." 13 I may add, as showing forethought in the lowest 
barbarians, that the Fuegians when they find a stranded 
whale bury large portions in the sand, and during the often- 
recurrent famines travel from great distances for the remnants 
of the half-putrid mass. 

It has often been remarked 14 that we do not owe a single 

10 In Tierra del Fuego the spot 1845, p. 261. 

where wigwams had formerly stood 12 'Journals of Expeditions in Aus- 

could be distinguished at a great tralia,' 1841, vol. ii. p. 292. 
distance by the bright green tint of I3 Darwin's ' Journal of Researches,' 

the native vegetation. 1845, p. 215. 

11 'American Acad, of Arts and l4 De Candollo has tabulated the 
Sciences,' April 10th, 1860, p. 413, facts in the most interesting manner 
Downing, ' The Fruits of America,' in his ' Gebgraphie Bot.,' p. 986 


useful plant to Australia or the Cape of Good Hope, — countries 
abounding to an unparalleled degree with, endemic species, — 
or to New Zealand, or to America south of the Plata ; and, 
according to some authors, not to America northward of 
Mexico. I do not believe that any edible or valuable plant, 
except the canary grass, has been derived from an oceanic or 
uninhabited island. If nearly all our useful plants, natives 
of Europe, Asia, and South America, had originally existed 
in their present condition, the complete absence of similarly 
useful plants in the great countries just named would be indeed 
a surprising fact. But if these plants have been so greatly 
modified and improved by culture as no longer closely to 
resemble any natural species, we can understand why the 
above named countries have given us no useful plants, for 
they were either inhabited by men who did not cultivate the 
ground at all, as in Australia and the Cape of Good Hope, or 
who cultivated it very imperfectly, as in some parts of 
America. These countries do yield plants which are useful 
to savage man ; and Dr. Hooker 15 enumerates no less than 
J 07 such species in Australia alone ; but these plants have 
not been improved, and consequently cannot compete with 
those which have been cultivated and improved during 
thousands of years in the civilised world. 

The case of New Zealand, to which fine island we as t yet 
owe no widely cultivated plant, may seem opposed to this 
view; for, when first discovered, the natives cultivated 
several plants ; but all inquirers believe, in accordance with 
the traditions of the natives, that the early Polynesian 
colonists brought with them seeds and roots, as well as the 
dog, which had been wisely preserved during their long 
voyage. The Polynesians are so frequently lost on the ocean 
that this degree of prudence would occur to any wandering 
party : hence the early colonists of New Zealand, like the 
later European colonists, would not have had any strong 
inducement to cultivate the aboriginal plants. According to 
Be Candolle we owe thirty-three useful plants to Mexico, 
Peru, and Chile; nor is this surprising when we remember 
the civilized state of the inhabitants, as shown by the fact of 

15 ' Flora of Australia,' Introduction, p. ex. 

Chai\ IX. 



their having practised artificial irrigation and made tunnels 
through hard rocks without the use of iron or gunpowder, 
and who, as we shall see in a future chapter, fully recognised, 
as far as animals were concerned, and therefore probably in 
the case of plants, the important principle of selection. We 
owe some plants to Brazil ; and the early voyagers, namely, 
Vespucius and Cabral, describe the country as thickly peopled 
and cultivated. In North America 16 the natives cultivated 
maize, pumpkins, gourds, beans, and peas, " all different from 
ours," and tobacco ; and we are hardly justified in assuming 
that none of our present plants are descended from these 
North American forms. Had North America been 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 

Cereal ia. — I will now enter on details. The cereals cultivated in 
Europe consist of four genera — wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Of 
wheat the best modern authorities 18 make four or five, or even 
seven distinct species; of rye, one; of barley, three; and of oats, 
two, three, or four species. So that altogether our cereals are 
ranked by different authors under from ten to fifteen distinct 
species. These have given rise to a multitude of varieties. It is 
a remarkable fact that botanists are not universally agreed on the 
aboriginal parent-form of any one cereal plant. For instance, a 

16 For Canada, see J. Cartier's 
Voyage in 1534; for Florida, see 
Narvaez and Ferdinand de Soto's 
Voyages. As I have consulted these 
and other old Voyages in more than 
one general collection of Voyages, I 
do not give precise references to the 
pagus. See also, for several references, 
Asa Gray, in the ' American Journal 
of Science,' vol. xxiv. Nov. 1857, p. 
441. For the traditions of the natives 
of New Zealand, see Crawfurd's 
' Grammar and Diet, of the Malay 
Language,' 1852, p. eclx. 

17 See, for example, Mr. Hewett C. 
Watson's remarks on our wild plums 
and cherries and crabs : ' Cybele 
Britannica,' vol. i. pp. 330, 334, &c. 
Van Mons (in his 'Arbres Fruitiers,' 
1835, torn. i. p. 444) declares that he 
has found the types of all our culti- 
vated varieties in wild seedlings, but 
then he looks on these seedlings as so 
many aboriginal stocks. 

18 "See A. De Candolle, < Geogroph. 
Bot.,' 1855, p. 928 et seq. Godror, 
' De l'Espece,' 1859, torn. ii. p. 70 ; and 
Metzger, ' Die Getreidearten,' &c, 1841. 



Chap. IX. 

high authority writes in 1855, 19 " We ourselves have no hesitation 
in stating our conviction, as the result of all the most reliable 
evidence, that none of these Cerealia exist, or have existed, truly 
wild in their present state, but that all are cultivated varieties 
of species now growing in great abundance in S. Europe or W. Asia." 
On the other hand, Alph. De Candolle 20 has adduced abundant 
evidence that common wheat (Trtticum vulgare) has been found 
wild in various parts of Asia, where it is not likely to have escaped 
from cultivation : and there is some force in M. Godron's remark, 
that, supposing these plants to be escaped seedlings, 21 as they have 
propagated themselves in a wild state for several generations, their 
continued resemblance to cultivated wheat renders it probable that 
the latter has retained its aboriginal character. But the strong 
tendency to inheritance, which most of the varieties of wheat evince, 
as we shall presently see, is here greatly undervalued. Much 
weight must also be attributed to a remark by Professor Hilde- 
brand, 22 that when the seeds or fruit of cultivated plants possess 
qualities disadvantageous to them as a means of distribution, we may 
feel almost sure that they no longer retain their aboriginal condition. 
On the other hand, M. l)e Candolle insists strongly on the frequent 
occurrence in the Austrian dominions of rye and of one kind of oats 
in an apparently wild condition. With the exception of these two 
cases, which however are rather doubtful, and with the exception of 
two forms of wheat and one of barley, which he believes to have been 
found truly wild, M. De Candolle does not seem fully satisfied with 
the other reported discoveries of the parent-forms of our other 
cereals. With respect to oats, according to Mr. Buckmann, 23 the 
wild English Avtna fatua can be converted by a few years of careful 
cultivation and selection into forms almost identical with two very 
distinct cultivated races. The whole subject of the origin and 
specific distinctness of the various cereal plants is a most difficult 
one ; but we shall perhaps be able to judge a little better after con- 
sidering the amount of variation which wheat has undergone. 
Metzger describes seven species of wheat, Godron refers to five, 

19 Mr. Bentham, in his review, 
entitled 'Hist. Notes on cultivated 
Plants,' by Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, 
in ' Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. 
(1855), p. 133. He informs me that 
he still retains the same opinion. 

20 ' Ge'ograph. Bot.,' p. 928. The 
whole subject is discussed with admir- 
able fulness and knowledge. 

21 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 
72. A few years ago the excellent, 
though misinterpreted, observations 
of M. Fabre led many persons to 
believe that wheat was a modified 
descendant of iEgilops ; but M. Godron 

(torn. i. p. 165) has shown by careful 
experiments that the first step in the 
series, viz. ^Egilops triticoides, is a 
hybrid between wheat and jE. ovata. 
The frequency with which these 
hybrids spontaneously arise, and the 
gradual manner in which the JE. 
triticoides becomes converted into true 
wheat, alone leave any doubt with 
respect to M. Godron's conclusions. 

22 ' Die Verbreitungsmittel der 
Pflanzen, 1873, p. 129. 

23 Report to British Association for 
1857, p. 207. 

Chap. IX. WHEAT. 331 

and De Candolle to only four. It is not improbable that, besides 
the kinds known in Europe, other strongly characterised forms exist 
in the more distant parts of the world ; for Loiseleur-Deslong- 
champs 2i speaks of three new species or varieties, sent to Europe 
in 18'22 from Chinese Mongolia, which he considers as being there 
indigenous. Moorcroft 25 also speaks of Hasora wheat in Ladakh 
as very peculiar. If those botanists are right who believe that at 
least seven species of wheat originally existed, then the amount 
of variation in any important character which wheat has undergone 
under cultivation has been slight; but if only four or a lesser 
number of species originally existed, then it is evident that varieties 
have arisen so strongly marked, that they have been considered by 
capable judges as specifically distinct. But the impossibility of 
deciding which forms ought to be ranked as species and which as 
varieties, makes it useless to specify in detail the differences between 
the various kinds of wheat. Speaking generally, the organs of 
vegetation differ little ; 26 but some kinds grow close and upright, 
whilst others spread and trail along the ground. The straw differs 
in being more or less hollow, and in quality. The ears 27 differ in 
colour and in shape, being quadrangular, compressed, or nearly 
cylindrical ; and the florets differ in their approximation to each 
other, in their pubescence, and in being more or less elongated. 
The presence or absence of barbs is a conspicuous difference, and in 
certain Gramineas serves even as a generic character ; 28 although, 
as remarked by Godron, 29 the presence of barbs is variable in certain 
wild grasses, and especially in those such as Bromus secalinus and 
Lolium temulentum, which habitually grow mingled with our cereal 
crops, and which have thus unintentionally been exposed to culture. 
The grains differ in size, weight, and colour ; in being more or less 
downy at one end, in being smooth or wrinkled, in being either 
nearly globular, oval, or elongated; and finally in internal texture, 
being tender or hard, or even almost horny, and in the proportion 
of gluten which they contain. 

Nearly all the races or species of wheat vary, as Godron 30 has 
remarked, in an exactly parallel manner, — in the seed being downy 
or glabrous, and in colour, — and in the florets being barbed or 
not barbed, &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 

24 ' Considerations sur les Cereales,' sid. sur les Cerdales,' p. 11. 
1842-43, p. 29. • 28 See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travels in the Himalayan Pro- Hooker's ' Journ. of Botany,' vol. viii. 
Tinces,' &c, 1841, vol. i. p. 224. p. 82, note. 

26 Col. J. Le Couteur on the 29 ' ' De l'Espece, tom. ii. p. 73. 
'Varieties of Wheat,' pp. 23, 79. 30 Ibid., tom. ii. p. 75. 

** Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Con- 


view to the several species of wheat, if suc'i ever existed in a state, 
of nature. 

Although few of the varieties of wheat present any conspicuous 
difference, their number is great. Dalbret cultivated during thirty- 
years from 150 to 160 kinds, and excepting in the quality of the 
grain they all kept true; Colonel Le Couteur possessed upwards of 
150, and Philippar 322 varieties. 31 As wheat is an annual, we thus 
see how strictly many trifling differences in character are inherited 
through many generations. Colonel Le Couteur insists strongly on 
this same fact. In his persevering and successful attempts to raise 
new varieties, he found that there was only one " secure mode to 
" ensure the growth of pure sorts, namely, to grow them from single 
" grains or from single ears, and to follow up the plan by afterwards 
" sowing only the produce of the most productive so as to form a 
" stock." But Major Hallett 32 has gone much farther, and by the 
continued selection of plants from the grains of the same ear, 
during successive generations, has made his ' Pedigree in Wheat ' 
(and other cereals) now famous in many quarters of the world. 
The great amount of variability in the plants of the same 
variety is another interesting point, which would never have 
been detected except by an eye long practised to the work; 
thus Colonel Le Couteur relates 33 that in a field of his own 
wheat, which he considered at least as pure as that of any of his 
neighbours, Professor La Gasca found twenty-three sorts; and 
Professor Henslow has observed similar facts. Besides such in- 
dividual variations, forms sufficiently well marked to be valued and 
to become widely cultivated sometimes suddenly appear: thus 
Mr. Shirreff has had the good fortune to raise in his lifetime seven 
new varieties, which are now extensively grown in many parts of 
Britain. 34 

As in the case of many other plants, some varieties, both old and 
new, are far more constant in character than others. Colonel Le 
Couteur was forced to reject some of his new sub-varieties, which 
he suspected had been produced from a cross, as incorrigibly 
sportive. On the other hand Major Hallett 33 has shown how wonder- 
fully constant some varieties are, although not ancient ones, and al- 
though cultivated in various countries. With respect to the tendency 
to vary, Metzger 36 gives from his own experience some interesting 
facts : he describes three Spanish sub-varieties, more especially one 

31 For Dalbret and Philippar, see Economy of Yorkshire,' vol. ii. p. 9, 
Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Consid. sur remarks that " in every field of corn 
les Cereales,' pp. 45, 70. Le Couteur there is as much variety as in a herd 
on Wheat, pp. 6, 14—17. of cattle." 

32 See his Essay on ' Pedigree in 34 ' Gardener's Chron.' and ' As:ri- 
Wheat,' 1862 ; also paper read before cult. Gazette,' 1862, p. 963. 

tho British Association, 1869, and 35 'Gardener's Chron.' Nov. 1868, 

other publications. p. 1199. 

33 'Varieties of Wheat,' Introduc- 36 ' Getreidearten,' 1841, s. 66, 91 
tion, p. vi. Marshall, in his 'Rural 92,-116, 117. 

Chap. IX. WHEAT. 333 

known to be constant - in Spain, which m Germany assumed their 
proper character only during hot summers ; another variety kept 
true only in good land, but after having been cultivated for twenty- 
five years became more constant. He mentions two other sub- 
varieties which were at first inconstant, but subsequently became, 
apparently without any selection, accustomed to their new homes, 
and retained their proper character. These facts show what small 
changes in the conditions of life cause variability, and they further 
show that a variety may become habituated to new conditions. 
One is at first inclined to conclude with Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, 
that wheat cultivated in the same country is exposed to remarkably 
uniform conditions; but manures differ, seed is taken from one 
soil to another, and, what is "far more important, the plants are 
exposed as little as possible to struggle with other plants, and are 
thus enabled to exist under diversified conditions. In a state of 
nature each plant is confined to that particular station and kind 
of nutriment which it can seize from the other plants by which it 
is surrounded. 

Wheat quickly assumes new habits of life. The summer and 
winter kinds were classed by Linnaeus as distinct species; but 
M. Monnier 37 has proved that the difference between them is only 
temporary. He sowed winter-wheat in spring, and out of one 
hundred plants four alone produced ripe seeds ; these were sown 
and resown, and in three years plants were reared which ripened 
all their seed. Conversely, nearly all the plants raised from 
summer-wheat, which was sown in autumn, perished from frost ; 
but a few were saved and produced seed, and in three years this 
summer- variety was converted into a winter- variety. Hence it is not 
surprising that wheat soon becomes to a certain extent acclimatised, 
and that seed brought from distant countries and sown in Europe 
vegetates at first, or even for a considerable period, 38 differently 
from our European varieties. In Canada the first settlers, accord- 
ing to Kalm, 39 found their winters too severe for winter-wheat 
brought from France, and their summers often too short for sum- 
mer-wheat ; and they thought that their country was useless for 
corn crops until they procured summer- wheat from the northern 
parts of Europe, which succeeded well. It is notorious that the 
proportion of gluten differs much under different climates. The 
weight of the grain is also quickly affected by climate : Loiseleur- 
Deslongchamps 40 sowed near Paris 54 varieties, obtained from the 
South of France and from the Black Sea, and 52 of these yielded 
seed from 10 to 40 per cent, heavier than the parent-seed. He then 

37 Quoted by Godron, ' De l'Espece,' 70. Many other accounts could be 
vol. ii. p. 74-. So it is, according to added. 

Metzger (' Getreidearten,' s. 18), with 39 'Travels in North America,' 

summer and winter barley. 1753-1761, £ng. translat., vol. iii. p. 

38 Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, ' Cere- 165. 

ales,' part ii. p. 224. Le Couteur, p. 40 'Cereales,' part ii. pp. 170-183 


sent these heavier grains back to the South of France, but there 
they immediately yielded lighter seed. 

All those who have closely attended to the subject insist on the 
close adaptation of numerous varieties of wheat to various soils and 
climates even within the same country ; thus Colonel Le Couteur 41 
says, " It is the suitableness of each sort to each soil that will 
enable the farmer to pay his rent by sowing one variety, where he 
would be unable to do so by attempting to grow another of a 
seemingly better sort." This may be in part due to each kind 
becoming habituated to its conditions of life, as Metzger has shown 
certainly occurs, but it is probably in main part due to innate 
differences between the several varieties. 

Much has been written on the deterioration of wheat ; that the 
quality of the flour, size of grain, time of flowering, and hardness, 
may be modified by climate and soil, seems nearly certain; but 
that the whole body of any one sub-variety ever becomes changed 
into another and distinct sub- variety, there is no reason to believe. 
What apparently does take place, according to Le Couteur, 42 is, that 
some one sub-variety out of the many which may always be detected 
in the same field is more prolific than the others, and gradually 
supplants the variety which was first sown. 

With respect to the natural crossing of distinct varieties the 
evidence is conflicting, but preponderates against its frequent occur- 
rence. Many authors maintain that impregnation takes place in 
the closed flower, but I am sure from my own observation that this 
is not the case, at least with those varieties to which I have attended. 
But as I shall have to discuss this subject in another work, it may 
be here passed over. 

In conclusion, all authors admit that numerous varieties of 
wheat have arisen ; but their differences are unimportant, 
unless, indeed, some of the so-called species are ranked as 
varieties. Those who believe that from four to seven wild 
species of Triticum originally existed in nearly the same con- 
dition as at present, rest their belief chiefly on the great 
antiquity of the several forms. 43 It is an important fact, 
which we have recently learnt from the admirable researches 
of Heer, 44 that the inhabitants of Switzerland, even so early 

41 'On the Varieties of Wheat,' rity cannot be given (' Gard. Chron. 
Introduct., p. vii. See Marshall, and Agricult. Gazette,' 1862, p. 
' Rural Econ. of Yorkshire,' vol. ii. p. 963), says, " I have never seen grain 
9. With respect to similar cases of which has either been improved or 
adaptation in the varieties of oats, see degenerated bv cultivation, so as to 
some interesting papers in the ' Gar- convey the change to the succeeding 
denei's Chron. and Agricult. Gazette,' crop. 

1850, pp. 204, 219. " ,3 Alph. De Candolle, « Geograph. 

42 'On the Varieties of Wheat,' p. Bot.,' p. 930. 

59. Mr. Shirreff, and a higher autho- 44 ' Planzen der Pfahlbauten, ' 188r>. 

Chap. IX. WHEAT. 335 

as the Neolithic period, cultivated no less than ten cereal 
plants, namely, five kinds of wheat, of which at least four are 
commonly looked at as distinct species, three kinds of barley, 
a panicum, and a setaria. If it could be shown that at the 
earliest dawn of agriculture five kinds of wheat and three of 
barley had been cultivated, we should of course be compelled 
to look at these forms as distinct species. But, as Heer has 
remarked, agriculture even at the Neolithic period, had already 
made considerable progress ; for, besides the cereals, peas, 
poppies, flax, and apparently apples, were cultivated. It may 
also be inferred, from one variety of wheat being the so called 
Egyptian, and from what is known of the native country of 
the panicum and setaria, as well as from the nature of the 
weeds which then grew mingled with the crops, that the lake- 
inhabitants either still kept up commercial intercourse with 
some southern people or had originally proceeded as colonists 
from the South. 

Loiseleur-Deslongchamps 45 has argued that, if our cereal 
plants have been greatly modified by cultivation, the weeds 
which habitually grow mingled with them would have been 
equally modified. But this argument shows how completely 
the principle of selection has been overlooked. That such 
weeds have not varied, or at least do not vary now in any 
extreme degree, is the opinion of Mr. H. C. \\ at son and 
Professor Asa Gray, as they inform me ; but who will pretend 
to say that they do not vary as much as the individual plants 
of the same sub-variety of wheat? We have already seen 
that pure varieties of wheat, cultivated in the same field, offer 
many slight variations, which can be selected and separately 
propagated ; and that occasionally more strongly pronounced 
variations appear, which, as Mr. Shirreff has proved, are well 
worthy of extensive cultivation. Not until equal attention 
be paid to the variability and selection of weeds, can the 
argument from their constancy under unintentional culture 
be of any value. In accordance with the principles of 
selection we can understand how it is that in the several cul- 
tivated varieties of wheat the organs of vegetation differ so 
little ; for if a plant with peculiar leaves appeared, it would 

45 ' Les Cereales,' p. 94. 


be neglected unless the grains of corn were at the same time 
superior in quality or size. The selection of seed-corn was 
strongly recommended 46 in ancient times by Columella and 
Celsus ; and as Virgil says, — 

" I've seen the largest seeds, tho' view 'd with care, 
Degenerate, unless th' industrious hand 
Did yearly cull the largest." 

But whether in ancient times selection was methodically 
pursued we may well doubt, when we hear how laborious the 
work has been found by Le Couteur and Hallett. Although 
the principle of selection is so important, yet the little which 
man has effected, by incessant efforts 47 during thousands of 
years, in rendering the plants more productive or the grains 
more nutritious than they were in the time of the old Egypt- 
ians, would seem to speak strongly against its efficacy. But 
we must not forget that at each successive period the state of 
agriculture and the quantity of manure supplied to the land 
will have determined the maximum degree of productiveness ; 
for it would be impossible to cultivate a highly productive 
variety, unless the land contained a sufficient supply of the 
necessary chemical elements. 

We now know that man was sufficiently civilized to culti- 
vate the ground at an immensely remote period ; so that 
wheat might have been improved long ago up to that standard 
of excellence which was possible under the then existing state 
of agriculture. One small class of facts supports this view of 
the slow and gradual improvement of our cereals. In the 
most ancient lake-habitations of Switzerland, when men 
employed only flint-tools, the most extensively cultivated 
wheat was a peculiar kind, with remarkably small ears and 
grains. 48 " Whilst the grains of the modern forms are in 
section from seven to eight millimetres in length, the larger 
grains from the lake habitations are six, seldom seven, and 
the smaller ones only four. The ear is thus much narrower, 

48 Quoted by Le Couteur, p. 16. bauten, ' 1866. The following passage 

47 A. De Candolle, ' Geograph Bot.,' is quoted from Dr. Christ, in ' Die 
p. 932. Fauna der Pfahlbauten, von Dr. Riiti 

48 0. Heer, ' Die Planzen der PFahl- meyer,' 186 i, s. 225. 

Chap. IX. WHEAT. 337 

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 1^ broad, whilst those now grown have a length 
of three lines, and almost the same in breadth." 49 These 
small-grained varieties of wheat and barley are believed by 
Heer to be the parent-forms of certain existing allied varieties, 
which have supplanted their early progenitors. 

Heer gives an interesting account of the first appearance 
and final disappearance of the several plants which were 
cultivated in greater or less abundance in Switzerland 
during former successive periods, and which generally differed 
more or less from our existing varieties. The peculiar small- 
eared and small-grained wheat, already alluded to, was the 
commonest kind during the Stone period ; it lasted down to 
the Helvetico-Roman age, and then became extinct. A second 
kind was rare at first, but afterwards became more frequent. 
A third, the Egyptian wheat (T. hirgidum), does not agree 
exactly with any existing variety, and was rare during the 
Stone period. A fourth kind (T. dicoccum) differs from all 
known varieties of this form. A fifth kind (T. monococcuni) 
is known to have existed during the Stone period only by 
the presence of a single ear. A sixth kind, the common 
T. spelta, was not introduced into Switzerland until the 
Bronze age. Of barley, besides the short-eared and small- 
grained kind, two others were cultivated, one of which was 
very scarce, and resembled our present common H. distichum. 
During the Bronze age rye and oats were introduced; the 
oat-grains being somewhat smaller than those produced by 
our existing varieties. The poppy was largely cultivated 
during the Stone period, probably for its oil ; but the variety 
which then existed is not now known. A peculiar pea with 
small seeds lasted from the Stone to the Bronze age, and then 
became extinct ; whilst a peculiar bean, likewise having small 
seeds, came in at the Bronze period and lasted to the time 
of the lvomans. These details sound like the descriptions 

49 Heer, as quoted by Carl Vogt, ' Lectures on Man,' Eng. translat. p. 355. 



Chap. IX, 

given by palaeontologists of the first appearance, the increasing 
rarity, and final extinction or modification of fossil species, 
embedded in the successive stages of a geological formation. 

Finally, every one must judge for himself whether it is 
more probable that the several forms of wheat, barley, r}^e, 
and oats are descended from between ten and fifteen species, 
most of which are now either unknown or extinct, or whether 
they are descended from between four and eight species, 
which may have either closely resembled our present cultivated 
forms, or have been so widely different as to escape identifica- 
tion. In this latter case we must conclude that man cultivated 
the cereals at an enormously remote period, and that he 
formerly practised some degree of selection, which in itself is 
not improbable. We may, perhaps, further believe that, when 
wheat was first cultivated the ears and grains increased 
quickly in size, in the same manner as the roots of the wild 
carrot and parsnip are known to increase quickly in bulk 
under cultivation. 

Maize or Indian Corn: Zea ways. — Botanists are nearly unani- 
mous that all the cultivated kinds belong to the same species. 
It is undoubtedly 50 of American origin, and was grown by the 
aborigines throughout the continent from New England to Chili. 
Its cultivation must have been extremely ancient, for Tschadi 51 
describes two kinds, now extinct or not known in Peru, which were 
taken from tombs apparently prior to the dynasty of the Incas. 
But there is even stronger evidence of antiquity, for I found on the 
coast of Peru 52 heads of maize, together with eighteen species of 
recent sea-shell, embedded in a beach which had been upraised at 
least 85 feet above the level of the sea. In accordance with this 
ancient cultivation, numerous American varieties have arisen. The 
aboriginal form has not as yet been discovered in the wild state. 
A peculiar kind, 53 in which the grains, instead of being naked, are 

50 See Alph. De Candolle's long dis- 
cussion in his ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 942. 
With respect to New England, see Silli- 
man's ' American Journal,' vol. xliv. 
p. 99. 

51 ' Travels in Peru,' Eng. translat., 
p. 177. 

52 ' Geolog. Observ. on S. America,' 
1846, p. 49. 

53 This maize is figured in Bonafous' 
magnificent work, ' Hist. Nat. du 
Mais, 1836, PI. v. bis, and in the 

'Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. i., 1846, 
p. 115, where an account is given of 
the result of sowing the seed. A 
young Guarany Indian, on seeing this 
kind of maize, told Auguste St. Hilaire 
{see De Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 
951) that it grew wild in the humid 
forests of his native land. Mr. 
Teschemacher, in ' Proc. Boston Soc. 
Hist.,' Oct. 19th, 1842, gives an 
account of sowing the seed. 

Jhap. IX. MAIZE. 339 

concealed by husks as much as eleven lines in length, has been 
stated, but on insufficient evidence, to grow wild in Brazil. It is 
almost certain that the aboriginal form would have had its grains 
thus protected ; 5i but the seeds of the Brazilian variety produce, 
as I hear from Professor Asa Gray, and as is stated in two published 
accounts, either common or husked maize ; and it is not credible 
that a wild species, when first cultivated, should vary so quickly 
and in so great a degree. 

Maize has varied in an extraordinary and conspicuous manner. 
Metzger, 55 who paid particular attention to the cultivation of this 
plant, makes twelve races (unter-art) with numerous sub- varieties; 
of the latter some are tolerably constant, others quite .inconstant. 
The different races vary in height from 15-18 feet to only 16-18 
inches, as in a dwarf variety described by Bonafous. The whole 
ear is variable in shape, being long and narrow, or short and thick, 
or branched. The ear in one variety is more than four times as 
long as in a dwarf kind. The seeds are arranged in the ear in from 
six to even twenty rows, or are placed irregularly. The seeds 
are coloured — white, pale-yellow, orange, red, violet, or elegantly 
streaked with black; 56 and in the same ear there are sometimes 
seeds of two colours. In a small collection I found that a single 
grain of one variety nearly equalled in weight seven grains of 
another variety. The shape of the seed varies greatly, being very 
flat, or nearly globular, or oval ; broader than long, or longer than 
broad ; without any point, or produced into a sharp tooth, and 
this tooth is sometimes recurved. One variety (the rugosa of 
Bonafous, and which is extensively cultivated in the United States 
as sweet corn) has its seeds curiously wrinkled, giving to the whole 
ear a singular appearance. Another variety (the cymosa of Bon.) 
carries its ears so crowded together that it is called ma'is a bouquet. 
The seeds of some varieties contain much glucose instead of starch. 
Male flowers sometimes appear amongst the female flowers, and 
Mr. J. Scott has lately observed the rarer case of female flowers on 
a true male panicle, and likewise hermaphrodite flowers. 57 Azara 
describes 58 a variety in Paraguay the grains of which are very 
tender, and he states that several varieties are fitted for being cooked 
in various ways. The varieties also differ greatly in precocity, and 
have different powers of resisting dryness and the action of violent 
wind. 59 Some of the foregoing differences would certainly be 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 

51 Moquin-Tandon, 'Elements de p* 80; Al. De Candolle, ibid., p. 951. 

Tcratologie,' 1841, p. 126. 57 ' Transact. Bot. Soc. of Edin- 

55 ' Die Getreidearten,' 1 841, s. 208. burgh,' vol. viii. p. 60. 

I have modified a few of Metzger's 58 ' Voyages dans l'Amerique Meri- 

statements in accordance with those dionale,' torn. i. p. 147. 

n ade by Bonafous in his great work, 59 Bonafous 'Hist. Nat. da Mais, 

' i ist. Nat. dn Mais,' 1836. p. 31. 

56 Godron ' De J'Espece,' torn. li. 


cultivated ultimately assumed a yellow colour. But Bonafous 60 
found that most of those which he sowed for ten consecutive years 
kept true to their proper tints ; and he adds that in the valleys of 
the Pyrenees and on the plains of Piedmont a white maize has been 
cultivated for more than a century, and has undergone no change. 

The tall kinds grown in southern latitudes, and therefore exposed 
to great heat, require from six to seven months to ripen their seed ; 
whereas the dwarf kinds, grown in northern and colder climates, 
require only from three to four months. 61 Peter Kalm, 62 who 
particularly attended to this plant, says, that in the United States, 
in proceeding from south to north, the plants steadily diminish in 
bulk. Seeds brought from lat. 37° in Virginia, and sown in lat. 
43°-44° in New England, produce plants which will not ripen their 
seed, or ripen them with the utmost difficulty. So it is with seed 
carried from New England to lat. 45°-47° in Canada. By taking 
great care at first, the southern kinds after some years' culture 
ripen their seed perfectly in their northern homes, so that this is an 
analogous case with that of the conversion of summer into winter 
wheat, and conversely. When tall and dwarf maize are planted 
together, the dwarf kinds are in full flower before the others have 
produced a single flower ; and in Pennsylvania they ripen their 
seeds six weeks earlier than the tall maize. Metzger also mentions 
a European maize which ripens its seed four weeks earlier than 
another European kind. With these facts, so plainly showing 
inherited acclimatisation, we may readily believe Kalm, who states 
that in North America maize and some other plants have gradually 
been cultivated further and further nothward. All writers agree 
that to keep the varieties of maize pure they must be planted 
separately so that they shall not cross. 

The effects of the climate of Europe on the American varieties is 
highly remarkable. Metzger obtained seed from various parts of 
America, and cultivated several kinds in Germany. I will give an 
abstract of the changes observed 63 in one case, namely, with a tall 
kind (Breit-korniger mais, Zea altissima) brought from the warmer 
parts of America. During the first year the plants were twelv ; 
feet high, and a few seeds were perfected ; the low T er 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 ap- 
proached common European maize. In the third generation nearly 
all resemblance to the original and very distinct American parent- 

G0 Ibid, p. 31. iv. I have consulted an old English 

61 Metzger, 'Getreidearten,' s. 206. MS. translation. 

62 ' Description of Maize,' by P. 63 ' Getreidearten,' s. 208. 
Kalm, 1752, in 'Swedish Ac^,' vol. 


form was lost. In the sixth generation this maize perfectly- 
resembled a European variety, described as the second sub-variety 
of the fifth race. When Metzger published his book, this variety 
was still cultivated near Heidelberg, and could be distinguished 
from the common kind only by a somewhat more vigorous growth. 
Analogous results were obtained by the cultivation of another 
American race, the " white-tooth corn," in which the tooth nearly 
disappeared even in the second generation. A third race, the 
" chicken corn," did not undergo so great a change, but the seeds 
became less polished and pellucid. In the above cases the seeds 
were carried from a warm to a colder climate. But Fritz Miiller 
informs me that a dwarf variety with small rounded seeds (papa- 
gaien-mais), introduced from Germany into S. Brazil, produces 
plants as tall, with seeds as flat, as those of the kind commonly 
cultivated there. 

These facts afford the most remarkable instance known to 
me of the direct and prompt action of climate on a plant. 
It might have been expected that the tallness of the stem, 
the period of vegetation, and the ripening of the seed, would 
have been thus affected ; but it is a much more surprising 
fact that the seeds should have undergone so rapid and great 
a change. As, however, flowers, with their product the seed, 
are formed by the metamorphosis of the stem and leaves, any 
modification in these latter organs would be apt to extend, 
through correlation, to the organs of fructification 

Cabbage (Brassica oJeracea). — Every one knows how greatly the 
various kinds of cabbage differ in appearance. In the Island of 
Jersey, from the effects of particular culture and of climate, a stalk 
has grown to the height of sixteen feet, and " had its spring shoots 
at the top occupied by a magpie's nest : " the woody stems are not 
unfrequently from ten to twelve feet in height, and are there used 
as rafters 64 and as walking-sticks. We are thus reminded that in 
certain countries plants belonging to the generally herbaceous 
order of the Cruciferse are developed into trees. Every one can 
appreciate the difference between green or red cabbages with 
great single heads; Brussel-sprouts with numerous little heads; 
broccolis and cauliflowers with the greater number of their flowers 
in an aborted condition, incapable of producing seed, and borne in 
a dense corymb instead of an open panicle ; savoys with their 
blistered and wrinkled leaves; and borecoles and kails, which 
come nearest to the wild parent-form. There are also various 

64 ' Cabbage Timber, ' Gardener's walking-stick made from a cabbage- 
Chron.,' 1856, p, 744, quoted from stalk is exhibited in the Museum at 
Hooker's 'Journal of Botany.' A Kew. 


frizzled and laciniated kinds, some of such beautiful colours that 
Vilmorin in his Catalogue of 1851 enumerates ten varieties which 
are valued solely for ornament. Some kinds are less commonly 
known, such as the Portuguese Couve Tronchuda, with the ribs of 
its leaves greatly thickened ; and the Kohlrabi or choux-raves, 
with their stems enlarged into great turnip-like masses above the 
ground; and the recently formed new race 65 of the choux-raves, 
already including nine sub-varieties, in which the enlarged part 
lies beneath the ground like a turnip. 

Although we see such great differences in the shape, size, colour, 
arrangement, and manner of growth of the leaves and stem, and of 
the flower-stems in the broccoli and cauliflower, it is remarkable 
that the flowers themselves, the seed-pods and seeds, present ex- 
tremely slight differences or none at all. 66 I compared the flowers 
of all the principal kinds ; those of the Couve Tronchuda are white 
and rather smaller than in common cabbages ; those of the 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 collection of the seeds of twenty-eight different kinds, and most 
of them were undistinguishable ; when there was any difference 
it was excessively slight ; thus, the seeds of various broccolis and 
cauliflowers, when seen in mass, are a little redder; those of the 
early green Ulm savoy are rather smaller ; and those of the Breda 
kail slightly larger than usual, but not larger than the seeds of 
the wild cabbage from the coast of Wales. What a contrast in 
the amount of difference is presented if, on the one hand, we 
compare the leaves and stems of the various kinds of cabbage with 
their flowers, pods, and seeds, and on the other hand the corre- 
sponding parts in the varieties of maize and wheat ! The expla- 
nation is obvious ; the seeds alone are valued in our cereals, and 
their variations have been selected ; whereas the seeds, seed- pods, 
and flowers have been utterly neglected in the cabbage, whilst 
many useful variations in their leaves and stems have been noticed 
and preserved from an extremely remote period, for cabbages were 
cultivated by the old Celts. 67 

It would be useless to give a classified description 68 of the 
numerous races, sub-races, and varieties of the cabbage; but it 
may be mentioned that Dr. Lindley has lately proposed b9 a system 
founded on the state of development of the terminal and lateral 

65 « Journal de la Soc. Imp. d'Horti- des Celtes,' 1818, p. 438. 
culture,' 1855, p. 254, quoted from 6S See the elder De Candolle, in 

' Gartenflora,' Ap. 1855. 'Transact, of Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. ; and 

68 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. Metzger ' Kohlarten,' &c. 
52; Metzger, ' Syst. Beschreibung 69 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1850. p 

der Kult. Kohlarten,' 1833, s. 6. 992. 


Reguier,' De 1'EconomiePublique 

Chap. IX. CABBAGES. 343 

leaf-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 abortive 
and succulent, as in the sprouting-broccoli. This latter variety is 
a new one, and bears the same relation to common broccoli, as 
Brussel-sprouts do to common cabbages; it suddenly appeared 
in a bed of common broccoli, and was found faithfully to transmit 
its newly-acquired and remarkable characters. 

The principal kinds of cabbage existed at least as early as the 
sixteenth century, 70 so that numerous modifications of structure 
have been inherited for a long period. This fact is the more 
remarkable as great care must be taken to prevent the crossing of 
the different kinds. To give proof of this : I raised 233 seedlings 
from cabbages of different kinds, which had purposely been planted 
near each other, and of the seedlings no less than 155 were plainly 
deteriorated and mongrelized; nor were the remaining 78 all 
perfectly true. It may be doubted whether many permanent 
varieties have been formed by intentional or accidental crosses; 
for such crossed plants are found to be very inconstant. One 
kind, however, called " Cottager's Kail," has lately been produced 
by crossing common kail and Brussel-sprouts, recrossed with 
purple broccoli, 71 and is said to be true ; but plants raised by me 
were not nearly so constant in character as any common kind of 

Although most of the kinds keep true if carefully preserved from 
crossing, yet the seed-beds must be yearly examined, and a few 
seedlings are generally found false ; but even in this case the force 
of inheritance is shown, for, as Metzger has remarked 72 when 
speaking of Brussel-sprouts, the variations generally keep to their 
" unter art," or main race. But in order that any kind may be 
truly propagated there must be no great change in the conditions 
of life; thus cabbages will not form heads in hot countries, 
and the same thing has been observed with an English variety 
grown during an extremely warm and damp autumn near Paris. 73 
Extremely poor soil also affects the characters of certain varieties. 

Most authors believe that all the races are descended from the 
wild cabbage found on the western shores of Europe ; but Alph. 
De Candolle 74 forcibly argues, on historical and other grounds, that 
it is more probable that two or three closely allied forms, generally 
ranked as distinct species, still living in the Mediterranean region, 

70 Alph. De Candolle, 'Geograph. 72 < Kohlarten,' s. 22. 

Bet.' pp. 842 and 989. 73 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p, 

71 'Gardener's Chron.,' Feb. 1858, 52; Metzger, 'Kohlarten,' s. 22. 
p. 128. 7i 'Geograph. Bet.,' p. 84-3. 



Chap. IX. 

are the parents, now all commingled together, of the various 
cultivated kinds. In the same manner as we have often seen with 
domesticated animals, the supposed multiple origin of the cabbage 
throws no light on the characteristic diiferences between the 
cultivated forms. If our cabbages are the descendants of three 
or four distinct species, every trace of any sterility which may 
originally have existed between them is now lost, for none of the 
varieties can be kept distinct without scrupulous care to prevent 

The other cultivated forms of the genus Brassica are descended, 
according to the view adopted by Godron and Metzger, 75 from two 
species, B. napus and rapa ; but according to other botanists from 
three species ; whilst others again strongly suspect that all these 
forms, both wild and cultivated, ought to be ranked as a single 
species. Brassica napus has given rise to two large groups, namely, 
Swedish turnips (believed to be of hybrid origin) 76 and Colzas, 
the seeds of which yield oil. Brassica rapa (of Koch) has also 
given rise to two races, namely, common turnips and the oil-giving 
rape. The evidence is unusually clear that these latter plants, 
though so different in external appearance, belong to the same 
species; for the turnip has been observed by Koch and Godron 
to lose its thick roots in uncultivated soil; and when rape and 
turnips are sown together they cross to such a degree that 
scarcely a single plant comes true. 77 Metzger by culture converted 
the biennial or winter rape into the annual or summer rape, — 
varieties which have been thought by some authors to be specifically 
distinct. 78 

In the production of large, fleshy, turnip-like stems, we have 
a case of analogous variation in three forms which are -generally 
considered as distinct species. But scarcely any modification seems 
so easily acquired as a succulent enlargement of the stem or root — 
that is, a store of nutriment laid up for the plant's own future use. 
We see this in our radishes, beet, and in the less generally known 
" turnip-rooted " celery, and in the finocchio, or Italian variety of the 
common fennel. Mr. Buckman has lately proved by his interesting 
experiments how quickly the roots of the wild parsnip can be 
enlarged, as Vilmorin formerly proved in the case of the carrot. 79 

75 Godron, ' De l'Espece,* torn. ii. p. 
54 ; Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 10. 

76 * Gardener's Chron. and Agricult. 
Gazette,' 1856, p. 729. See, more 
especially, ibid., 1868, p. 275: the 
writer asserts that he planted a variety 
of cabbage (B. oleraced) close to turnips 
(i?. rapa) and raised from the crossed 
seedlings true Swedish turnips. These 
latter plants ought, therefore, to be 
classed with cabbages or turnips, and 
not under B. napus. 

77 i Gardener's Chron. and Agricult.. 
Gazette,' 1855, p. 730. 

78 Metzger, ' Kohlarten,' s. 51. 

79 These experiments by Vilmorin 
have been quoted by many writers. 
An eminent botanist, Prof. Decaisne, 
has lately expressed doubts on the 
subject from his own negative results, 
but these cannot be valued equally 
with positive results. On the other 
hand, M. Carriere has lately stated 
('Gard. Chronicle,' 1865, p. 1154), 

Chap. IX. 



This latter plant, in its cultivated state, differs in scarcely any 
character from the wild English carrot, except in general luxuri- 
ance and in the size and quality of its roots; but ten varieties, 
differing in the colour, shape, and quality of the root, are cultivated 
in England and come true by seed. 80 Hence with the carrot, as 
in so many other cases, for instance with the numerous varieties 
and sub- varieties of the radish, that part of the plant which is 
valued by man, falsely appears alone to have varied. The truth 
is that variations in this part alone have been selected ; and the 
seedlings inheriting a tendency to vary in the same way, analogous 
modifications have been again and again selected, until at last 
a great amount of change has been effected. 

With respect to the radish, M. Carriere, by sowing the seed of 
the wild Raphanus raphanistrum in rich soil, and by continued 
selection during several generations, raised many varieties, closely 
like the cultivated radish (R. sativus) in their roots, as well as the 
wonderful Chinese variety, R. caudatus : (see ' Journal d'Agriculture 
pratique,' t. i., 1869, p. 159 ; also a separate essay, ' Origine des 
Plants Domestiques/ 1869.) Raphanus raphanistrum and sativus 
have often been ranked as distinct species, and owing to differences 
in their fruit even as distinct genera ; but Professor Hoffman (' Bot. 
Zeitung,' 1872, p. 482) has now shown that these differences, re- 
markable as they are, graduate away, the fruit of R. caudatus 
being intermediate. By cultivating R. raphanistrum during several 
generations (ibid., 1873, p. 9), Professor Hoffman also obtained plants 
bearing fruits like those of R. sativus. 

tea (Pisum sativum). — Most botanists look at the garden-pea 
as specifically distinct from the field-pea (P. arvense). The latter 
exists in a wild state in Southern Europe; but the aboriginal 
parent of the garden-pea has been found by one collector alone, 
as he states, in the Crimea. 81 Andrew Knight crossed, as I am 
informed by the Eev. A. Fitch, the field-pea with a well-known 
garden variety, the Prussian pea, and the cross seems to have been 
perfectly fertile. Dr. Alefeld has recently studied 82 the genus 
with care, and, after having cultivated about fifty varieties, concludes 
that certainly they all belong to the same species. It is an interest- 
ing fact already alluded to, that, according to 0. Heer, 83 the peas 
found in the lake-habitations of Switzerland of the Stone and 
Bronze ages, belong to an extinct variety, with exceedingly small 

that he took seed from a wild carrot, 
growing far from any cultivated land, 
and even in the first generation the 
roots of his seedlings differed in being 
spindle-shaped, longer, softer, and less 
fibrous than those of the wild plant. 
From these seedlings he raised several 
distinct varieties. 

80 Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Garden- 
ng,' p. 835. 


81 Alph. De Candolle, * Geograph. 
Bot.,' 960. Mr. Bentham (' Hort. 
Journal,' vol. ix. (1855), p. 141) 
believes that garden and field peas 
belong t|P the same species, and in this 
respect he differs from Dr. Targioni. 

82 'Botanische Zeitung,' I860, s. 

83 ' Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten, 
1866, s. 23. 


seeds, allied to P. arvense or the field-pea. The varieties of the 
common garden-pea are numerous, and differ considerably from 
one another. For comparison I planted at the same time forty-one, 
English and French varieties. They differed greatly in height, — 
namely from between 6 and 12 inches to 8 feet, 84 — in manner of 
growth, and in period of maturity. Some differ in general aspect 
even while only two or three inches in height. The stems of the 
Prussian pea are much branched. The tall kinds have larger 
leaves than the dwarf kinds, but not in strict proportion to their 
height : — Hair's Dwarf Monmouth has very large leaves, and the 
Pois nain hatif, and the moderately tall Blue Prussian, have leaves 
about two-thirds of the size of the tallest kind. In the Danecroft 
the leaflets are rather small and a little pointed ; in the Queen of 
Dwarfs rather rounded ; and in the Queen of England broad and 
large. In these three peas the slight differences in the shape of the 
leaves are accompanied by slight differences in colour. In the 
Pois 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, two, or several flowers in a small 
cluster, are borne on the same peduncle ; and this is a difference 
which is considered of specific value in some of the Leguminosae. 
In all the varieties the flowers closely resemble each other except 
in colour and size. They are generally white, sometimes purple, 
but the colour is inconstant even in the same variety. In Warner's 
Emperor, which is a tall kind, the flowers are nearly double the 
size of the Pois nain hat if ; but Hairs Dwarf Monmouth, which 
has large leaves, likewise has large flowers. The calyx in the Victoria 
Marrow is large, and in Bishop's Long Pod the sepals are rather 
narrow. In no other kind is there any difference in the flower. 

The pods and seeds, which with natural species afford such 
constant characters, differ greatly in the cultivated varieties of the 
pea ; and these are the valuable, and consequently the selected 
parts. Sugar peas, or Pois sans parchemin, are remarkable from 
their thin pods, 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 it 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 

84 A variety called the Rounciva series), vol. i., 1835, p. 374, from 
attains this height, as is stated by Mr. which paper I have taken some facts 
Gordon in 'Transact. Hort. Soc.'(2nd 

Chap DL 



when dry, instead of pale brown, and that of the purple-podded 
pea being expressed by its name ; — in smoothness, that of Danecroft 
being remarkably glossy, whereas that of the Ae 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 Auverqne 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. 




Fi<z. 41.— Pods and Peas. I. Qu-en of Dwarfs. II. American Dwarf. III. Thurston's 
Reliance.— IV Pois Geant sans parcbemin. a. Dan O'Kourke Pea. 0. Queen ot Dwarfs 
Pea. c. KJiight's Tall White Marrow, d. Lewis's Ne^vo Pea. 


In the pea itself we have every tint between almost pure white, 
brown, yellow, and intense green; in the varieties of the sugar peas 
we have these same tints, together with red passing through fine 
purple into a dark chocolate tint. These colours are either uniform 
or distributed in dots, striae, or moss-like marks; they depeud 
in some cases on the colour of the cotyledons seen through the 
skin, and in other cases on the outer coats of the pea itself. In 
the different varieties, the pods contain, according to Mr. Gordon, 
from eleven or twelve to only four or five peas. The largest peas 
are nearly twice as much in diameter as the smallest ; and the 
latter are not always borne by the most dwarfed kinds. Peas differ 
much in shape, being smooth and spherical, smooth and oblong, 
nearly oval in the Queen of the Dwarfs, and nearly cubical and 
crumpled in many of the larger kinds. 

With respect to the value of the differences between the chief 
varieties, it cannot be doubted that, if one of the tall Sugar-peas, 
with purple flowers, thin-skinned pods of an extraordinary shape, 
including large, dark-purple peas, grew wild by the side of the 
lowly Queen of the Dwarfs, with white flowers, greyish-green, rounded 
leaves, scimitar-like pods, containing oblong, smooth, pale-coloured 
peas, which became mature at a different season : or by the side 
of one of the gigantic sorts, like the Champion of England, with 
leaves of great size, pointed pods, and large, green, crumpled, 
almost cubical peas, — all three kinds would be ranked as distinct 

Andrew Knight 85 has observed that the varieties of peas keep 
very true, because they are not crossed by insects. As far as the 
fact of keeping true is concerned, I hear from Mr. Masters of 
Canterbury, well known as the originator of several new kinds, 
that certain varieties have remained constant for a considerable 
time, — for instance, Knight's Blue Dwarf, which came out about 
the year 1820. 86 But the greater number of varieties have a 
singularly short existence : thus Loudon remarks 87 that " sorts 
which were highly approved in 1821, are now, in 1833, nowhere to 
be found ;" and on comparing the lists of 1833 with those of 1855, 
I find that nearly all the varieties have changed. Mr. Masters 
informs me that the nature of the soil causes some varieties to Jose 
their character. As with other plants, certain varieties can be 
propagated truly, whilst others show a determined tendency to 
vary ; thus two peas differing in shape, one round and the other 
wrinkled, were found by Mr. Masters within the same pod, but the 
plants raised from the wrinkled kind always evinced a strong 
tendency to produce round peas. Mr. Masters also raised from a 
plant of another variety four distinct sub-varieties, which bore blue 
and round, white and round, blue and wrinkled, and white and 

" 5 ' Phil. Tract.' 1799, p. 196. 87 'Encyclopaedia of Gardening,' p 

86 ' Gardener's Magazine,' vol. i., 823. 
1826, p. 153. 

Chap. IX. PEAS. 349 

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 diners from some 
other LeguminossB, is perfectly fertile without the aid of insects. 
Yet I have seen humble-bees whilst sucking the nectar depress the 
keel-petals, and become so thickly dusted with pollen, that it could 
hardly fail to be left on the stigma of the next flower which was 
visited. Nevertheless, distinct varieties growing closely together 
rarely cross ; and I have reason to believe that this is due to their 
stigmas being prematurely fertilised in this country by pollen from 
the same flower. The horticulturists who raise seed-peas are thus 
enabled to plant distinct varieties close together without any bad 
consequences ; and it is certain, as I have myself found, that true 
seed may be saved during at least several generations under these 
circumstances. 88 Mr. Fitch raised, as he informs me, one variety 
for twenty years, and it always came true, though grown close to 
other varieties. From the analogy of kidney-beans I should 
have expected 89 that varieties thus circumstanced would have oc- 
casionally crossed ; and I shall give in the eleventh chapter two cases 
of this having occurred, as shown (in a manner hereafter to be ex- 
plained) by the pollen of the one variety having acted directly on the 
seeds of the other. Whether many of the new varieties which in- 
cessantly appear are due to such occasional and accidental crosses, I 
do not know. Nor do I know whether the short existence of almost 
all the numerous varieties is the result of mere change of fashion, or 
of their having a weak constitution, from being the product of long- 
continued self-fertilisation. It may, however, be noticed that several 
of,Andrew Knight's varieties, which have endured longer than most 
kinds, were raised towards the close of the last century by artificial 
crosses ; some of them, I believe, w r ere still vigorous in 18G0 ; 
but now, in 1865, a writer, speaking 90 of Knight's four kinds of 
marrows, says, they have acquired a famous history, but their 
glory has departed. 

With respect to Beans (Faba vulgaris), I will say but little. Dr. 
Alefeld has given 91 short diagnostic characters of forty varieties. 
Everyone who has seen a collection must have been struck with 
the great difference in shape, thickness, proportional length and 
breadth, colour, and size which beans present. What a contrast 
between a Windsor and Horse-bean ! As in the case of the pea, 
our existing varieties were preceded during the Bronze age in 

88 See Dr. Anderson to the same ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1857, Oct. 
effect in the ' Bath Soc. Agricultural 25. 

Papers.' vol. iv. p. 87. 90 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1865, p. 

89 I have published full details of 387. 

experiments on this subject in the 91 ' Bonphmdia,' x., 1862, s. 348. 



Chap. IX 

Switzerland 92 by a peculiar and now extinct variety producing 
very small beans. 93 

Potato (Solarium tuberosum). — There is little doubt about the 
parentage of this plant ; for the cultivated varieties differ extremely 
little in general appearance from the wild species, which can be 
recognised in its native land at the first glance. 94 The varieties 
cultivated in Britain are numerous; thus Lawson 95 gives a de- 
scription of 175 kinds. I planted eighteen kinds in adjoining 
rows ; their stems and leaves differed but little, and in several 
cases there was as great a difference between the individuals of 
the same variety as between the different varieties. The flower 
varied in size, and in colour between white and purple, but in no 
other respect, except that in one kind the sepals were somewhat 
elongated. One strange variety has been described which always 
produces two sorts of flowers, the first double and sterile, the 
second single aud fertile. 96 The fruit or berries also differ, but 
only in a slight degree. 97 The varieties are liable in very different 
degree to the attack of the Colorado potato-beetle. 98 

The tubers, on the other hand, present a wonderful amount of 
diversity. This fact accords with the principle that the valuable 
and selected parts of all cultivated productions present the greatest 
amount of modification. They differ much in size and shape, being- 
globular, oval, flattened, kidney-like, or cylindrical. One variety 
from Peru is described " as being quite straight, and at least six 
inches in length, though no thicker than a man's finger. The eyes 
or buds differ in form, position, and colour. The manner in which 
the tubers are arranged on the so-called roots or rhizomes is 
different ; thus, in the gurken-Jcartoffeln they form a pyramid with 
the apex downw r ards, and in another variety they bury themselves 
deep in the ground. The roots themselves run either near tlje 
surface or deep in the ground. The tubers also differ in smoothness 

92 Heer, ' Die Pflan^on der Pfahl- 
auten,' 1866, s. 22. 

93 Mr. Bentham informs me that in 
Poitou and the adjoining parts of 
France, varieties of Phascolus vulgaris 
are extremely numerous, and so dif- 
ferent that they were described by Savi 
as distinct species. Mr. Bentham 
believes that all are descended from 
au unknown eastern species. Al- 
though the varieties differ so greatly 
in stature and in their seeds, " there 
is a remarkable sameness in the ne- 
glected characters of foliage and 
riowers, and especially in the brac- 
teoles, an insignificant character in 
the eyes even of botanists." 

84 Darwin, 'Journal of Researches,' 

1845, p. 285. Sabine, in 'Transact 
Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. p. 249. 

95 'Synopsis of the Vegetable 
Products of Scotland,' quoted in 
Wilson's 'British Fai-ming,' p. 317. 

96 Sir G. Mackenzie, in ' Gardener's 
Chronicle,' 1845, p. 790. 

97 Putsche und Vertuch, ' Versuch 
einer Monographie der Kartoffeln,' 
1819, s. 9, 15. See also Dr. Anderson's 
' Recreations in Agriculture,' vol. iv. 
p. 325. 

98 Walsh, 'The American Entomo- 
logist,' 1869, p. 160. Also S. Tenney, 
' The American Naturalist,' May, 1871, 
p. 171. 

99 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 

Chap. IX. POTATOES. 351 

and colour, being externally white, red, purple, or almost black, 
and internally white, yellow, or almost black. They differ in 
flavour and quality, being either waxy or mealy ; in their period of 
maturity, and in their capacity for long preservation. 

As with many other plants which have been long propagated by 
bulbs, tubers, cuttings, &c, by which means the same individual is 
exposed during a length of time to diversified conditions, seedling 
potatoes generally display innumerable slight differences. Several 
varieties, even when propagated by tubers, are far from constant, as 
will be seen in the chapter on Bud-variation. Dr. Anderson 100 
procured seed from an Irish purple potato, which grew far from 
any other kind, so that it could not at least in this generation have 
been crossed, yet the many seedlings varied in almost every possible 
respect, so that " scarcely two plants were exactly alike." Some of 
the plants which closely resembled each other above ground, pro- 
duced extremely dissimilar tubers ; and some tubers which externally 
could hardly be distinguished, differed widely in quality when 
cooked. Even in this case of extreme variability, the parent-stock 
had some influence on the progeny, for the greater number of the 
seedlings resembled in some degree the parent Irish potato. Kidney 
potatoes must be ranked amongst the most highly cultivated 
and artificial races; nevertheless their peculiarities can often be 
strictly propagated by seed. A great authority, Mr. Eivers, 101 
states that " seedlings from the ash-leaved kidney always bear a 
strong resemblance to their parent. Seedlings from the fluke- 
kidney are still more remarkable for their adherence to their parent 
stock, for, on closely observing a great number during two seasons, 
I have not been able to observe the least difference, either in earliness, 
productiveness, or in the size or shape of their tubers." 

100 < Bath Society Agricult. Papers,' 101 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, p. 

vol. v. p. 127. And ' Recreations in £43. 
Agriculture,' vol. v. p. 86. 

852 FRUITS. Chap. X. 

plants continued — fruits — ornamental trees — flowers. 







ORNAMENTAL TREES — their variation in degree and kind — 




The Vine (Vitis vinifera). — The best authorities consider all our 
grapes as the descendants of one species which now 7 grows wild in 
western Asia, which grew wild during the Bronze age in Italy, 1 and 
which has recently been found fossil in a tufaceons deposit in the 
south of France. 2 Some authors, however, entertain much doubt 
about the single parentage of our cultivated varieties, owing to the 
number of semi- wild forms found in Southern Europe, especially as 
described by Clemente 3 in a forest in Spain; but as the grape sows 
itself freely in Southern Europe, and as several of the chief kinds 
transmit their characters by seed, 4 whilst others are extremely 
variable, the existence of many different escaped forms could hardly 
fail to occur in countries where this plant has been cultivated from 
the remotest antiquity. That the vine varies much when propagated 
by seed, we may infer from the largely increased number of varieties 
since the earlier historical records. New hot-house varieties are 

1 Heer, ' Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten,' Saporta on the ' Tertiary Plants of 
1866, s. 28. France.' 

2 Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. 3 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 
Bot.,' p. 872; Dr. A. Targioni- 100. 

Tozzetti, in ' Jour. Hort. Soc.,' vol ix. 4 See an account of M. Yibert's ex- 

p. 133. For the fossil vine found by periments, by Alex. Jordan, in ' Mem. 

Dr. G. Planchon, see 'Nat. Hist. de l'Acad. de Lyon,' torn. ii. 1852, p. 

Review,' 1865, April, p. 224. See 108. 
also the valuable works of M. de 

Chap. X. VINES. 353 

produced almost every year; for instance, 5 a golden-coloured 
variety has been recently raised in England from a black grape 
without the aid of a cross. Van Mons 6 reared a multitude of 
varieties from the seed of one vine, which was completely separated 
from all others, so that there could not, at least in this generation, 
have been any crossing, and the seedlings presented " les analogues 
de toutes les sortes," and differed in almost every possible character 
both in the fruits and foliage. 

The cultivated varieties are extremely numerous ; Count Odart 
says that he will not deny that there may exist throughout the 
world 700 or 800, perhaps even 1000 varieties, but not a third of 
these have any value. In the catalogue of fruit cultivated in the 
Horticultural Gardens of London, published in 1842, 99 varieties 
are enumerated. Wherever the grape is grown many varieties 
occur : Pallas describes 24 in the Crimea, and Burnes mentions 10 
in Cabool. The classification of the varieties has much perplexed 
writers, and Count Odart is reduced to a geographical system ; but 
I will not enter on this subject, nor on the many and great dif- 
ferences between the varieties. I will merely specify a few curious 
and trifling peculiarities, all taken from Odart's highly esteemed 
work, 7 for the sake of showing the diversified variability of this 
plant. Simon has classed grapes into two main divisions, those 
with downy leaves, and those with smooth leaves, but he admits 
that in one variety, namely the Eebazo, the leaves are either smooth, 
or downy ; and Odart (p. 70) states that some varieties have the 
nerves alone, and other varieties their young leaves, downy, whilst 
the old ones are smooth. The Pedro-Ximenes grape (Odart, p. 397) 
presents a peculiarity by which it can be at once recognised amongst 
a host of other varieties, namely, that when the fruit is nearly ripe 
the nerves of the leaves or even the whole surface becomes yellow. 
The Barbera d'Asti is well marked by several characters (p. 426), 
amongst others, " by some of the leaves, and it is always the lowest 
on the branches, suddenly becoming of a dark red colour." Several 
authors in classifying grapes have founded their main divisions on 
the berries being either round or oblong ; and Odart admits the 
value of this character; yet there is one variety, the Maccabeo 
(p. 71), which often produces small round, and large oblong, berries 
in the same bunch. Certain grapes called Nebbiolo (p. 429) present 
a constant character, sufficient for their recognition, namely, " the 
slight adherence of that part of the pulp which surrounds the seeds 
to the rest of the berry, when cut through transversely." A Rhenish 
variety is mentioned (p. 228) which likes a dry soil ; the fruit ripens 
well, but at the moment of maturity, if much rain falls, the berries 
are apt to rot ; on the other hand, the fruit of a Swiss variety (p. 243) 
is valued for well sustaining prolonged humidity. This latter 

5 « Gardener's Chronicle,' 1864, p. p. 290. 

488. 7 Odart, ' Ampelographie Unfter- 

6 ' Arbres Fruitiers,' 18S6, torn. ii. selie,' 1849. 

354 FRUITS : Ckaf. X. 

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 
^ asps and bees. Other varieties have tough stalks, which resist 
the wind. Many other variable characters could be given, but the 
foregoing facts are sufficient to show in how many small structural 
and constitutional details the vine varies. During the vine disease 
in France certain old groups of varieties 8 have suffered far more 
from mildew than others. Thus " the group of Chasselas, so rich 
in varieties, did not afford a single fortunate exception ;" certain 
other groups suffered much less ; the true old Burgundy, for instance, 
was comparatively free from disease, and the Carminat likewise 
resisted the attack. The American vines, which belong to a distinct 
species, entirely escaped the disease in France; and we thus see 
that those European varieties which best resist the disease must 
have acquired in a slight degree the same constitutional peculiarities 
as the American species. 

White Mulberry (Morus alba).— I mention this plant because it 
has varied in certain characters, namely, in the texture and quality 
of the leaves, fitting them to serve as food for the domesticated 
silkworm, in a manner not observed with other plants ; but this 
has arisen simply from such variations in the mulberry having been 
attended to, selected, and rendered more or less constant. M. de 
Quatrefages 9 briefly describes six kinds cultivated in one valley in 
France : of these the amourouso produces excellent leaves, but is 
rapidly being abandoned because* it produces much fruit mingled 
with the leaves: the autofino yields deeply cut leaves of the finest 
quality, but not in great quantity : the claro is much sought for 
because the leaves can be easily collected : lastly, the roso bears 
strong hardy leaves, produced in large quantity, but with the one 
inconvenience, that they are best adapted for the worms after their 
fourth moult. MM. Jacquemet-Bonnefont, of Lyon, however, remark 
in their catalogue (1862) that two sub- varieties have been confounded 
under the name of the roso, one having leaves too thick for the 
caterpillars, the other being valuable because the leaves can easily 
be gathered from the branches without the bark being torn. 

In India the mulberry has also given rise to many varieties. 
The Indian form is thought by many botanists to be a distinct 
species ; but as Eoyle remarks, 10 " so many varieties have been 
produced by cultivation that it is difficult to ascertain whether they 

8 M. Bouchardat, in ' Comptes Ren- Annual Report on the Insects of 

dus,' Dec. 1st, 1851, quoted in « Gar- Missouri,' 1872, p. 63, and ' Fifth Re- 

dener's Chron.,' 1852, p. 435. See port,' 1873, p. 66. 
also C. V. Riley on the manner in 9 ' Etudes sur les Maladies actuelles 

which some few of the varieties of du Ver a Soie,' 1859, p. 321. 
the American Labruscan Vine escape 10 ' Productive Resources of Id iia,' 

the attacks of the Phylloxera: 'Fourth p. 130. 

Chap. X. ORANGE GROUP. 355 

all belong to one species ;" they ore, as he adds, nearly as numerous 
as those of the silkworm. 

The Orange Group. — We here meet with great confusion in the 
specific distinction and parentage of the several kinds. Gallesio, 11 
who almost devoted his life-time to the subject, considers that there 
are four species, namely, sweet and bitter oranges, lemons, and 
citrons, each of which has given rise to whole groups of varieties, 
monsters, and supposed hybrids. One high authority 12 believes 
that these four reputed species are all varieties of the wild Citrus 
medica, but that the shaddock (Citrus decumana), which is not known 
in a, wild state, is a distinct species ; though its distinctness is 
doubted by another writer " of great authority on such matters," 
namely, Dr. Buchanan Hamilton. Alph. De Candolle, 13 on the 
other hand — and there cannot be a more capable judge — advances 
what he considers sufficient evidence of the orange (he doubts 
whether the bitter and sweet kinds are specifically distinct), the 
lemon, and citron, having been found wild, and consequently that 
they are distinct. He mentions two other forms cultivated in Japan 
and Java, which he ranks undoubted species ; he speaks rather 
more doubtfully about the shaddock, which varies much, and has 
not been found wild ; and finally he considers some forms, such as 
Adam's apple and the bergamotte, as probably hybrids. 

I have briefly abstracted these opinions for the sake of showing 
those who have never attended to such subjects, how perplexing 
they are. It would, therefore, be useless for my purpose to give a 
sketch of the conspicuous differences between the several forms. 
Besides the ever- recurrent difficulty of determining whether forms 
found wild are truly aboriginal or are escaped seedlings, many of 
the forms, which must be ranked as varieties, transmit their 
characters almost perfectly by seed. Sweet and bitter oranges 
differ in no important respect except in the flavour of their fruit, 
but Gallesio u 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 a soft-shelled pine-tree into the dignity of an aboriginally 
created species. The positive assertion made by Macfayden 15 that 

n 'Traite du Citrus,' 1811. 12 Mr. Bentham, < Review of Dr. A. 

1 Teoria della Riproduzione Vegetale,' Targioni-Tozzetti, ' Journal of Hort. 

1816. I quote chiefly from this Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 133. 

second work. In 1839 Gallesio pub- 13 ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 863. 

lished in folio ' Gli Agrumi dei Giard. 14 ' Teoria della Riproduzione,' pp. 

Bot. di Firenze,' in which he gives a 52-57. 

curious diagram of the supposed 15 Hooker's ' Bot. Misc.,' vol. i. p. 

relationship of* all the forms. 302; vol. ii. p 111. 

356 FRUITS : Chap. X. 

the pips of sweet oranges produced in Jamaica, according to the 
nature of the soil in which they are sown, either sweet or bitter 
oranges, is probably an error; for M. Alph. De Candolle informs 
me that since the publication of his great work he has received 
accounts from Guiana, the Antilles, and Mauritius, that in these 
countries sweet oranges faithfully transmit their character. Gallesio 
found that the willow-leafed and the Little China oranges re- 
produced their proper leaves and fruit; but the seedlings were 
not quite equal in merit to their parents. The red-fleshed orange, 
on the other hand, fails to reproduce itself. Gallesio also observed 
that the seeds of several other singular varieties all reproduced 
trees having a peculiar physiognomy, partly resembling their 
parent-forms. I can adduce another case : the myrtle leaved 
orange is ranked by all authors as a variety, but is very distinct in 
general aspect : in my father's greenhouse, during many years, it 
rarely yielded any fruit, but at last produced one ; and a tree thus 
raised was identical with the parent-form. 

Another and more serious difficulty in determining the rank of 
the several forms is that, according to Gallesio, 16 they largely 
intercross without artificial aid; thus he positively states that 
seeds taken from lemon-trees (C. lemonum) growing mingled with 
the citron (C. medic /), which is generally considered as a distinct 
species, produced a graduated series of varieties between these two 
forms. Again, an Adam's apple was produced from the seed of a 
sweet orange, which grew close to lemons and citrons. But such 
facts hardly aid us in determining whether to rank these forms as 
species or varieties ; for it is now known that undoubted species of 
Verbascum, Cistus, Primula, Salix, &c, frequently cross in a state 
of nature. If indeed it were proved that plants of the orange tribe 
raised from these crosses were even partially sterile, it would be a 
strong argument in favour of their rank as species. Gallesio 
asserts that this is the case ; but he does not distinguish between 
sterility from hybridism and from the effects of culture ; and he 
almost destroys the force of this statement by another, 17 namely, 
that when he impregnated the flowers of the common orange with 
the pollen taken from undoubted varieties of the orange, monstrous 
fruits were produced, which included "little pulp, and had no 
seeds, or imperfect seeds." 

In this tribe of plants we meet with instances of two highly 
remarkable facts in vegetable physiology : Gallesio 18 impregnated 
an orange with pollen from a lemon, and the fruit borne on the 
mother tree had a raised stripe of peel like that of a lemon both in 
colour and taste, but the pulp was like that of an orange and 
included only imperfect seeds. The possibility of pollen from one 
variety or species directly affecting the fruit produced by another 
variety of species, is a subject which I shall fully discuss in the 
following chapter. 

16 ' Teoria della Riproduzione,' p. 53. 

17 Gallesio, 'Teoria della Riproduzione,' p. 69. ,8 Ibid. p. 67. 

Chap. X. 



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 1 shall have to recur. 

I will conclude by giving from A. Kisso 21 a short account of a 
very singular variety of the common orange. It is the " cit/tts 
aurantium fructu variabili" which on the young shoots produces 
rounded-oval leaves spotted with yellow, borne on petioles with 
heart-shaped wings ; when these leaves fall off, they are succeeded 
by longer and narrower leaves, with undulated margins, of a pale- 
green colour embroidered with yellow, borne on footstalks without 
wings. The fruit whilst young is pear-shaped, yellow, longitu- 
dinally striated, and sweet; but as it ripens, it becomes spherical, 
of a reddish-yellow, and bitter. 

Peach and Nectarine (Amygdalus persica). The best authorities 
are nearly unanimous that the peach has never been found wild. 
It was introduced from Persia into Europe a little before the 
Christian era, and at this period few varieties existed. Alph. De 
Canclolle/ 2 from the fact of the peach not having spread from Persia 
at an earlier period, and from its not having pure Sanscrit or 
Hebrew names, believes that it is not an aboriginal of Western 
Asia, but came from the terra incognita of China. The supposition, 
however, that the peach is a modified almond which acquired its 
present character at a comparatively late period, would, I presume, 
account for these facts ; on the same principle that the nectarine, the 
offspring of the peach, has few native names, and became known in 
Europe at a still later period. 

Andrew Knight, 23 from finding that a seedling-tree, raised from a 
sweet almond fertilised by the pollen of a peach, yielded fruit quite 
like that of a peach, suspected that the peach-tree is a modified 
almond ; and in this he has been followed by various authors. 24 A 
first-rate peach, almost globular in shape, formed of soft and sweet 

19 Gallesio, 'Teoria della Ripro- 
duzione,' pp. 75, 76. 

20 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, p. 

21 ' Annales du Museum,' torn. xx. 
p. 188. 

22 ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 882. 

23 ' Transactions of Hort. Soc.,' vol. 
iii. p. 1, and vol. iv. p. 396, and note 
to p. 370. A coloured drawing is 
given of this hybrid. 

24 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1856, p. 
532. A writer, it may be presumed 
Dr. Liudley, remarks on the perfect 
series which may be formed between 
the almond and the peach. Another 
high authority, Mr. Rivers, who has 
had such wide experience, strongly 
suspects (' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, 
p. 27) that peaches, if left to a state 
of nature, would in the course of time 
retrograde into thick-fleshed almonds. 



Chap. X. 

pulp, surrounding a hard, much furrowed, and slightly flattened 
stone, certainly differs greatly from an almond, with its soft, 
slightly furrowed, much flattened, and elongated stone, protected 

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. 

by a tough, greenish layer of bitter flesh. Mr. Bentham 25 has par- 
ticularly called attention to the stone of the almond being so much 
more flattened than that of the peach. But in the several varieties 

25 ' Journal of Hcrt. Soc, vol. ix. p. 168. 


of the almond, the stone differs greatly in the degree to which 
it is compressed, in size, shape, strength, and in the depth of the 
furrows, as may be seen in the accompanying drawing (Nos. 4 
to 8) of such kinds as I have been able to collect. With peach- 
stones also (Nos. 1 to 3) the degree of compression and elongation is 
seen to vary ; so that the stone of the Chinese Honey- peach (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 who has had 
such great horticultural experience, has called my attention to 
several varieties which connect the almond and the peach. In 
France there is a variety called the Peach-Almond, which Mr. 
Eivers formerly cultivated, and which is correctly described in a 
French catalogue as being oval and swollen, with the aspect of a 
peach, including a hard stone surrounded by a fleshy covering, 
which is sometimes eatable. 26 A remarkable statement by M. 
Lnizet has recently appeared in the ' Revue Horticole,' 27 namely, 
that a Peach-almond, grafted on a peach, bore, during 1863 and 
1864, almonds alone, but in 1865 bore six peaches and no almonds. 
M. Carriere, in commenting on this fact, cites the case of a double- 
flowered almond which, after producing during several years almonds, 
suddenly bore for two years in succession spherical fleshy peach- 
like fruits, but in 1865 reverted to its former state and produced 
large almonds. 

Again, as I hear from Mr. Rivers, the double-flowering Chinese 
peaches resemble almonds in their manner of growth and in their 
flowers ; the fruit is much elongated and flattened, with the flesh 
both bitter and sweet, but not uneatable, and it is said to be of 
better quality in China. From this stage one small step leads us 
to such inferior peaches as are occasionally raised from seed. For 
instance, Mr. Rivers sowed a number of peach-stones imported from 
the United States, where they are collected for raising stocks, and 
some of the trees raised by him produced peaches which were very 
like almonds in appearance, being small and hard, with the pulj) 
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 transi- 
tions, through clingstones of poor quality, to our best and most 
melting kinds. From this gradation, from the cases of sudden varia 
tion 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 

26 Whether this is the same variety produces during successive years very 

as one lately mentioned (' Gard. different kinds of fruit. 

Chron.' 1865, p. 1154) by M. Carriere 27 Quoted in 'Gard. Chron.' 1866, 

under the name of persica intermedia, p. 800. 

I know not ; this variety is said to be 28 Quoted in 'Journal de la Soc. 

ntermediate in nearly all its charac- Imp. d'Horticulture,' 1855, p. 238. 
t«'rs between the almond and peach ; it 



Chap. X. 

the peach is the descendant of the almond, improved and modified 
in a marvellous manner. 

One fact, however, is opposed to this conclusion. A hybrid, 
raised by Knight from the sweet almond by the pollen of the peach, 
produced flowers with little or no pollen, yet bore fruit, having 
been apparently fertilised by a neighbouring nectarine. Another 
hybrid, from a sweet almond by the pollen of a nectarine, produced 
during the first three years imperfect blossoms, but afterwards 
perfect flowers with an abundance of pollen. If this slight degree 
of sterility cannot be accounted for by the youth of the trees (and 
this often causes lessened fertility), or by the monstrous state of 
the flowers, or by the conditions to which the trees were exposed, 
these two cases would afford a good argument against the peach 
being the descendant of the 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 29 says 
he has verified this with respect to eight races of the peach. 
Mr. Eivers 30 has given some striking instances from his own 
experience, and it is notorious that good peaches are constantly 
raised in North America from seed. Many of the American sub- 
varieties come true or nearly true to their kind, such as the white- 
blossom, several of the yellow-fruited freestone peaches, the blood 
clingstone, the heath, and the lemon clingstone. On the other 
hand, a clingstone peach has been known to give rise to a freestone. 31 
In England it has been noticed that seedlings inherit from their 
parents flowers of the same size and colour. Some characters, 
however, contrary to what might have been expected, often are 
not inherited ; such as the presence and form of the glands 
on the leaves. 32 With respect to nectarines, both cling and free- 
stones are known in North America to reproduce themselves by 
seed. 33 In England the new white nectarine was a seedling of the 
old white, and Mr. Eivers 34 has recorded several similar cases. 
From this strong tendency to inheritance, which both peach and 
nectarine trees exhibit, — from certain slight constitutional differ- 
ences 33 in their nature, — and from the great difference in their 
fruit both in appearance and flavour, it is not surprising, notwith- 
standing that the trees differ in no other respects and cannot even 

29 ' Teoria della Riprorluzione Vege- 
tale,' 1816, p. 86. 

30 < Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 

31 Mr. Rivers, ' Gardener's Chron.,' 
1859, p. 774. 

32 Downing, ' The Fruits of Ame- 
rica,' 1845, pp. 475, 489, 492, 494, 
496. See also F. Michaux, ' Travels 
in N. America' (Eng. translat.), p. 

228. For similar cases in France see 
Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 97. 

33 Brickell's ' Nat. Hist, of N. 
Carolina,' p. 102, and Downing's 
' Fruit Trees,' p. 505. 

34 * Gardener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 

35 The peach and nectarine do not 
succeed equally well in the same soil : 
see Liudley's ' Horticulture,' p. 351. 


be distinguished, as I am informed by Mr. Eivcrs, whilst young, 
that they have been ranked by some authors as specifically distinct. 
Gallesio does not doubt that they are distinct ; even Alph. De Candolle 
does not appear perfectly assured of their specific identity : and an 
eminent botanist has quite recently 3fi maintained that the nectarine 
" probably constitutes a distinct species." 

Hence it may be worth while to give all the evidence on the 
origin of the nectarine. The facts in themselves are curious, and 
will hereafter have to be referred to when the important subject 
of bud- variation is discussed. It is asserted 37 that the Boston 
nectarine was produced from a peach-stone, and this nectarine 
reproduced itself by seed. 38 Mr. Eivers states 39 that from stones 
of three distinct varieties of the peach he raised three varieties 
of nectarine; and in one of these cases no nectarine grew near 
the parent peach-tree. In another instance Mr. Eivers raised a 
nectarine from a peach, and in "the succeeding generation another 
nectarine from this nectarine. 40 Other such instances have been 
communicated to me, but they need not be given. Of the converse 
case, namely, of nectarine-stones yielding peach-trees (both free and 
clingstones), we have six undoubted instances recorded by Mr. 
Eivers ; 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 
producing a nectarine/ 2 and in 1766 he added two other instances. 
In the same work, the editor, Sir J. E. Smith, describes the more 
remarkable case of a tree in Norfolk wiiich usually bore both 
perfect nectarines and perfect peaches; but during two seasons 
some of the fruit were half and half in nature. 

Mr. Salisbury in 1808 43 records six other cases of peach-trees 
producing nectarines. Three of the varieties are named; viz., the 
Alberge, Belle Chevreuse, and Eoyal George. This latter tree seldom 
failed to produce both kinds of fruit. He gives another case of 
a half-and-half fruit. 

At Eadford in Devonshire 44 a clingstone peach, purchased as 

36 Godron, ' De l'Espece/ torn, ii., Chron.,' 1859, p. 774, 1862, p. 1195; 
1859, p. 97. 1865, p. 1059 ; and ' Journal of Hort.,* 

37 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. p. 1866, p. 102. 

394. 42 'Correspondence of Linnaeus,' 

38 Downing's 'Fruit Trees,' p. 502. 1821, pp. 7, 8, 70. 

3& ' Gardener's Chronicle/ 1862, p. 43 'Transact. Hort. Soc./ vol. i. p. 

1195. 103. 

40 ' Journal of Horticulture/ Feb. 44 Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag./ 
5th, 1866, p. 102. 1826, vol. i. p. 471. 

41 Mr. Rivers, in ' Gardener's 

362 FRUITS . Chap. X. 

the Chancellor, was planted in 1815, and in 1824, after having 
previously produced peaches alone, bore on one branch twelve 
nectarines; in 1825 the same branch yielded twenty-six nectarines, 
and in 1826 thirty-six nectarines, together with eighteen peaches. 
One of the peaches was almost as smooth on one side as a nectarine. 
The nectarines were as dark as, but smaller than, the Elruge. 

At Beccles a Royal George peach 45 produced a fruit, "three 
parts of it being peach and one part nectarine, quite distinct in 
appearance as well as in flavour." The lines of division were 
longitudinal, as represented in the woodcut. A nectarine-tree 
grew five yards from this tree. 

Professor Chapman states 46 that he has often seen in Virginia 
very old peach-trees bearing nectarines. 

A writer in the f 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 1814 48 a Vanguard peach-tree produced, in the midst of its 
ordinary fruit, a single red Roman nectarine. 

Mr. Calver is stated 49 to have raised in the United States 
a seedling peach which produced a mixed crop of both peaches and 

Near Dorking ro a branch of the Teton de Venus peach, which 
reproduces itself truly by seed, 51 bore its own fruit " so remarkable 
for its prominent point, and a nectarine rather smaller but well 
formed and quite round." 

The previous cases all refer to peaches suddenly producing 
nectarines, but at Carclew 52 the unique case occurred, of a nectarine- 
tree, raised twenty years before from seed and never grafted, 
producing a fruit half peach and half nectarine ; subsequently bore 
a perfect peach. 

To sum up the foregoing facts; we have excellent evidence of 
peach-stones producing nectarine-trees, and of nectarine-stones 
producing peach-trees, — of the same tree-bearing peaches and 
nectarines, — of peach-trees suddenly producing by bud-variation 
nectarines (such nectarines reproducing nectarines by seed), as 
well as fruit in part nectarine and in part peach, — and, lastly, of 
one nectarine-tree first bearing half-and-half fruit, and subsequently 
true peaches. As the peach came into existence before the nectarine, 
it might have been "expected from the law of reversion that 
nectarines would have given birth by bud- variation or by seed 
to peaches, oftener than peaches to nectarines ; but this is by no 
means the case. 

45 Loudon's, 'Gardener's Mag.,' 49 ' Phytologist,' vol. ir. p. 290. 
1823, p. 53. 50 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1856, p. 

46 Ibid., 1830, p. 597. 531. 

47 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1811. p. 51 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 
617. 97. 

48 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1844, p. "'Gardener's Chron.,' 1856, p. 
589. 531. 


Two explanations have been suggested to account for these 
conversions. First, that the parent trees have been in every case 
hybrids 53 between the peach and nectarine, and have reverted 
by bud-variation or by seed to one of their pure parent forms. 
This view in itself is not very improbable ; for the Mountaineer 
peach, which was raised by Knight from the red nutmeg-peach 
by pollen of the violette native nectarine, 54 produces peaches, but 
these are said sometimes to partake of the smoothness and flavour 
of the nectarine. But let it be observed that in the previous list 
no less than six well-known varieties and several unnamed varieties 
of the peach have once suddenly produced perfect nectarines by 
bud variation : and it would be an extremely rash supposition 
that all these varieties of the peach, which have been cultivated 
for years in many districts, and which show not a vestige of 
a mixed parentage, are, nevertheless, hybrids. A second explana- 
tion is, that the fruit of the peach has been directly affected by the 
pollen of the nectarine : although this certainly is possible, it 
cannot here apply; for we have not a shadow of evidence that 
a branch which has borne fruit directly affected by foreign pollen 
is so profoundly modified as afterwards to produce buds which 
continue to yield fruit of the new and modified form. Now it 
is known that when a bud on a peach-tree has once borne a nectarine 
the same branch has iu several instances gone on during successive 
years producing nectarines. The Carclew nectarine, on the other 
hand, first produced half-and-half fruit, and subsequently pure 
peaches. Hence we may confidently accept the common view that 
the nectarine is a variety of the peach, which may be produced 
either by bud-variation or from seed. In the following chapter 
many analogous cases of bud- variation will be given. 

The varieties of the peach and the nectarine run in parallel lines. 
In both classes the kinds differ from each other in the flesh of the 
fruit being white, red, or yellow ; in being clingstones or freestones ; 
in the flowers being large or small, with certain other characteristic 
differences ; and in the leaves being serrated without glands, 
or crenated and furnished with globose or reniform glands. 55 We 
can hardly account for this parallelism by supposing that each 
variety of the nectarine is descended from a corresponding variety 
of the peach ; for though our nectarines are certainly the descend- 
ants of several kinds of peaches, yet a large number are the 
descendants of other nectarines, and they vary so much when 
thus reproduced that we can scarcely admit the above explanation. 

The varieties of the peach have largely increased in number 
since the Christian era, when from two to five varieties were 
known; 56 and the nectarine was unknown. At the present time, 

53 Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. Hort. Soc.,' 1842, p. 105. 
Bot., p. 886. 56 Dr. A. Targioni-Tozzetti, ' Jour- 

34 Thompson, in Loudon's ' Ency- nal Hort. Sec.,' vol. ix. p. 167. Alph. 

>:lop. of Gardening,' p. 911. de Candolle, 'Geograph. Bot.,' p 


'Catalogue of Fruit in Garden of 885. 

364 FRUITS : ' Chap. X. 

besides many varieties said to exist in China, Downing describes, 
in the United States, seyenty-nine native and imported varieties 
of the peach; and a few years ago Lindley 57 enumerated one 
hundred and sixty-four varieties of the peach and nectarine grown 
in England. I have already indicated the chief points of difference 
between the several varieties. Nectarines, even when produced 
from distinct kinds of peaches, always possess their own peculiar 
flavour, and are smooth and small. Clingstone and freestone 
peaches, which differ in the ripe flesh either firmly adhering to 
the stone, or easily separating from it, also differ in the character 
of the stone itself; that of the freestones or melters being more 
deeply fissured, with the sides of the fissures smoother than 
in clingstones. In the various kinds the flowers differ not only 
in size, but in the larger flowers the petals are differently shaped, 
more imbricated, generally red in the centre and pale towards 
the margin : whereas in the smaller flowers the margin of the 
petal are usually more darkly coloured. One variety has nearly 
white flowers. The leaves are more or less serrated, and are either 
destitute of glands, or ha^e globose or reniform glands; 58 and some 
few peaches, such as the Brugnen, bear on the same tree both 
globular and kidney-shaped glands. 69 According to Eobertson 60 
the trees with glandular leaves are liable to blister, but not in any 
great degree to mildew ; whilst the non-glandular trees are more 
subject to curl, to mildew, and to the attacks of aphides. The 
varieties differ in the period of their maturity, in the fruit keeping 
well, and in hardiness, — the latter circumstance being especially 
attended to in the United States. Certain varieties, such as the 
Bellegarde, stand forcing in hot-houses better than other varieties. 
The flat-peach of China is the most remarkable of all the varieties , 
it is so much depressed towards the summit, that the stone is here 
covered only by roughened skin and not by a fleshy layer. 61 
Another Chinese variety, called the Honey-peach, is remarkable 
from the fruit terminating in a long sharp point; its leaves are 
glandless and widely dentate. 62 The Emperor of Eussia peach 
is a third singular variety, having deeply double-serrated leaves ; 
the fruit is deeply cleft with one-half projecting considerably 
beyond the other: it originated in America, and its seedlings 
inherit similiar leaves. 63 

The peach has also produced in China a small class of trees 
valued for ornament, namely the double-flowered; of these, five 

57 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. p. 1865, p. 271, to same effect. Also 
554. See also Carriere, ' Description et ' Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 26th, 
Class, des Varietes de Peehers.' 1865, p. 254. 

58 ' Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Garden- 61 'Transact. Hort. Soc' vol. iv. p. 
ing,' p. 907. 512. 

39 M. Carriere, in'Gard. Chron.,' 62 'Journal of Horticulture,' Sept. 

1865, p. 1154. 8th, 1853, p. 188. 

69 'Transact, Hort. Soc.,' vol. iii. 63 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vL 

p. 332. SeeaXso ' Gardener's Chronicle,' p. 412. 

Chap. X. APKICOTS. 365 

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 24 inches in diameter, 
whilst those of the fruit-bearing kinds do not at most exceed 1£ 
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 charac- 
terised, belonging both to the nectarine and peach form. 

Apricot (Primus armeniaca). — It is commonly admitted that this 
tree is descended from a single species, now found wild in the 
Caucasian region. 66 On this view the varieties deserve notice, 
because they illustrate differences supposed by some botanists to 
be of specific value in the almond and plum. The best monograph 
on the apricot is by Mr. Thompson, 67 who describes seventeen 
varieties. We have seen that peaches and nectarines vary in a 
strictly parallel manner ; and in the apricot, which forms a closely 
allied genus, we again meet with variations analogous to those of 
the peach, as well as to those of the plum. The varieties differ 
considerably in the shape of their leaves, which are either serrated 
or crenated, sometimes with ear-like appendages at their bases, 
and sometimes with glands on the petioles. The flowers are 
generally alike, but are small in the Masculine. The fruit varies 
much in size, shape, and in having the suture little pronounced 
or absent ; in the skin being smooth, or downy, as in the orange- 
apricot; and in the flesh clinging to the stone, as in the last- 
mentioned kind, or in readily separating from it, as in the 
Turkey-apricot. In all these differences we see the closest analogy 
with the varieties of the peach and nectarine. In the stone we 
have more important differences, and these in the case of the plum 
have been esteemed of specific value : in some apricots the stone is 
almost spherical, in others much flattened, being either sharp in 
front or blunt at both ends, sometimes channelled along the back, 
or with a sharp ridge along both margins. In the Moorpark, and 
generally in the Hemskirke, the stone presents a singular character 
in being perforated, with a bundle of fibres passing through the 
perforation from end to end. The most constant and important 
character, according to Thompson, is whether the kernel is bitter 
or sweet : yet in this respect we have a graduated difference, for 
the kernel is very bitter in Shipley's apricot; in the Hemskirke 
less bitter than in some other kinds ; slightly bitter in the Eoyal ; 
and " sweet like a hazel-nut " in the Breda, Angoumois, and others. 

34 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1857, p. Bot,,' p. 879. 

216. 67 'Transact. Hort. Soc' (2nd 

65 < Journal of Hort. Soc.,' vol. ii. series), vol. i. 1835, p. 56. See also 
p. 283. ' Cat. of Fruit in Garden of Hort. Soc.,' 

66 Alph. de Candolle, ' Geograph. 3rd edit. 1842. 



Chap. X. 

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 unfavour- 
able situations, where no other sort, except the Masculine, will 
succeed; and its blossoms bear quite a severe frost without 
injury.' 568 According to Mr. Rivers/ 9 seedling apricots deviate but 
little from the character of their race : in France the Alberge is 
constantly reproduced from seed with but little variation. In 
Ladakh, according to Moorcroft, 70 ten varieties of the apricot, very 
different from each other, are cultivated, and all are raised from 
seed, excepting one, which is budded. 

Plums (l J runtis insiktia). — Formerly the sloe, P. spinow, wns 
thought to be the parent of all our plums ; but now this honour is 


Fig. 43. — Plum Stones, of natural size, viewed laterally. 1. Bullacp Plum. 2. Shropshire 
Damson. 3. P>lue Gage. 4. Orleans. 5. Elvas. 6. Denver's Victoria. 7. Diamond, 

very commonly accorded to P. irisititia or the bullace, which is 
found wild in the Caucasus and K-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. 

G8 Downing, ' The Fruits ot Ame- 
rica,' 1845, p. 157: with respect to 
the Alberge apricot in France, see p. 

09 < Gardener's Chronicle.' 1863, p. 

70 'Travels in the Himalavan Pro- 

vinces,' vol. i. 1841, p. 295. 

71 See an excellent discussion on 
this subject in Hewett C. Watson's 
* Cybele Britannica,' vol. iv. p. 80. 

72 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1835, 


Chap. X. PLUMS. 367 

Godron remarks 73 that the cultivated varieties may be divided into 
two main groups, which he supposes to be descended from two 
aboriginal stocks; namely, those with oblong fruit and stones 
pointed at both ends, having narrow separate petals and upright 
branches ; and those with rounded fruit, with stones blunt at both 
ends, with rounded petals and spreading branches. From what 
we know of the variability of the flowers in the peach and of the 
diversified manner of growth in our various fruit-trees, it is difficult 
to lay much weight on these latter characters. With respect to 
the shape of the fruit, we have conclusive evidence that it is 
extremely variable : Downing u gives outlines of the plums of two 
seedlings, namely, the red and imperial gages, raised from the 
greengage ; and the fruit of both is more elongated than that of the 
greengage. The latter has a very blunt broad stone, whereas the 
stone of the imperial gage is "oval and pointed at both ends." 
These trees also differ in their manner of growth : " the greengage 
is a very short-jointed, slow-growing tree, of spreading and rather 
dwarfish habit ; " whilst its offspring, the imperial gage, " grows 
freely and rises rapidly, and has long dark shoots." The famous 
Washington plum bears a globular fruit, but its offspring, the 
emerald drop, is nearly as much elongated as the most elongated 
plum figured by Downing, namely, Manning's prune. I have made 
a small collection of the stones of twenty-five kinds, and they 
graduate in shape from the bluntest into the sharpest kinds. As 
characters derived from seeds are generally of high systematic 
importance, I have thought it worth while to give drawings of the 
most distinct kinds in my small collection ; and they may be seen 
to differ in a surprising manner in size, outline, thickness, promi- 
nence of the ridges, and state of surface. It deserves notice that 
the shape of the stone is not always strictly correlated with that of 
the fruit : thus the Washington plum is spherical and depressed at 
the pole, with a somewhat elongated stone, whilst the fruit of 
the Goliath is more elongated, but the stone less so, than in the 
Washington. Again, Denyer's Victoria and Goliath bear fruit 
closely resembling each other, but their stones are widely different. 
On the other hand, the Harvest and Black Margate plums are very 
dissimilar, yet include closely similar stones. 

The varieties of the plum are numerous, and differ greatly in 
size, shape, quality, and colour, — being bright yellow, green, almost 
white, blue, purple, or red. There are some curious varieties, such 
as the double or Siamese, and the Stoneless plum : in the latter the 

73 < De l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 94. On 278, 284, 310, 314. Mr. Rivers 
the parentage of our plums, see also raised (' Gard. Chron.,' 1863, p. 27) 
Alph. De Candolle, ' Geograph. Bot.,' from the Prune-peche, which bears 
p. 878. Also Targioni-Tozzetti, 'Jour- large, round, red plums on stout, 
nal Hort. Soc.,' vol. ix. p. 164. Also robust shoots, a seedling which bears 
Babington, ' Manual of Brit. Botany,' oval, smaller fruit on shoots that are 
1851, p. 87. so slender as to be almost pendulous. 

74 ' Fruits of America,' pp. 276, 

368 FRUITS : Chap. X. 

kernel lies in a roomy cavity surrounded only by the pulp. The 
climate of North America appears to be singularly favourable for 
the production of new and good varieties; Downing describes no 
less than forty, of which seven of first- rate quality have been 
recently introduced into England. 75 Varieties occasionally arise 
having an innate adaptation for certain soils, almost as strongly 
pronounced as with natural species growing on the most distinct 
geological formations ; thus in America the imperial gage, differently 
from almost all other kinds, " is peculiarly fitted for dry light soils 
where many sorts drop their fruit," whereas on rich heavy soils the 
fruit is often insipid. 76 My father could never succeed in making 
the Wine-Sour yield even a moderate crop in a sandy orchard near 
Shrewsbury, whilst in some parts of the same county and in its 
native Yorkshire it bears abundantly : one of my relations also 
repeatedly tried in vain to grow this variety in a sandy district in 

Mr. Rivers has given 77 a number of interesting facts, showing 
how truly many varieties can be propagated by seed. He sowed 
the stones of twenty bushels of the greengage for the sake of raising 
stocks, and closely observed the seedlings; all had the smooth shoots, 
the prominent buds, and the glossy leaves of the greengage, but the 
greater number had smaller leaves and thorns." There are two 
kinds of damson, one the Shropshire with downy shoots, and the 
other the Kentish with smooth shoots, and these differ but slightly 
in any other respect : Mr. Rivers sowed some bushels of the Kentish 
damson, and all the seedlings had smooth shoots, but in some 
the fruit was oval, in others round or roundish, and in a few the 
fruit was small, and, except in being sweet, closely resembled that 
of the wild sloe. Mr. Rivers gives several other striking instances 
of inheritance : thus, he raised eighty thousand seedlings from the 
common German Quetsche plum, and "not one could be found 
varying in the least, in foliage or habit." Similar facts were observed 
with the Petite Mirabelle plum, yet this latter kind (as well as the 
Quetsche) is known to have yielded some well-established varieties ; 
but, as Mr. Rivers remarks, they all belong to the same group with 
the Mirabelle. 

Cherries (Primus 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 

75 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1855, p. see also Downing's 'Fruit Trees of 
726. America,' p. 305, 312, &c. 

76 Downing's < Fruit Trees/ p. 278. r8 Compare Alph. De Candolle, 

77 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1863, p. ' Geograph, Bot.,' p. 877; Bentham 
27. Sageret, in his ' Pomologie Phys.,' and Targioni-Tozzetti, in ' Hort. Jour- 
p. 346, enumerates five kinds which nal,' vol. ix. p. 163 ; Godron, ' De 
can be propagated in France by seed : l'Espece,' torn. ii. p. 92. 


contained a seed. 79 Mr. Thompson 80 has classified the varieties in 
an apparently natural method in two main groups by characters 
taken from the flowers, fruit, and leaves; but some varieties which 
stand widely separate in this classification are quite fertile when 
crossed • thus Knight's Early Black cherries 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 1812, eighty varieties are enumerated. Some varieties 
present singular characters : thus, the flower of the Cluster cherry 
includes as many as twelve pistils, of which the majority abort ; and 
they are said generally to produce from two to five or six cherries 
aggregated together and borne on a single peduncle. In the Ratafia 
cherry several flower-peduncles arise from a common peduncle, 
upwards of an inch in length. The fruit of Gascoigne's Heart has 
its apex produced into a globule or drop ; that of the white Hunga- 
rian Gean has almost transparent flesh. The Flemish cherry is " a 
very odd-looking fruit," much flattened at the summit and base, 
with the latter deeply furrowed, and borne on a stout, very short 
footstalk. In the Kentish cherry the stone adheres so firmly to the 
footstalk, that it could be drawn out of the flesh; and this renders 
the fruit well fitted for drying. The Tobacco-leaved cherry, accord- 
ing 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, h griottier de la Toussaint, 
which bears at the same time, even as late as September, flowers and 
fruit of all degrees of maturity. The fruit, which is of inferior 
quality, is borne on long, very thin footstalks. But the extraordinary 
statement is made that all the leaf-bearing shoots spring from old 
flower-buds. Lastly, there is an important physiological distinction 
between those kinds of cherries which bear fruit on young or on old 
wood ; but Sageret positively asserts that a Bigarreau in his garden 
bore fruit on wood of both ages. 82 

Apple (Pyrus malus). — The one source of doubt felt by botanists 
with respect to the parentage of the apple is whether, besides P. 
malus, two or three other closely allied wild forms, namely, P. acerba, 
and precox or paradisiaca, do not deserve to be ranked as distinct 

70 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. v., Thompson, in ' Hort. Transact.,' see 

1824, p. 295. above; Sageret's ' Pomologie Phys.,* 

*° Ibid., second series, vol. i., 1835, 1830, pp. 358, 364, 367, 379 ; ' Cata- 

p. 248. logue of the Fruit in the Garden 

* l Ibid., vol. ii. p. 138. of Hort. Soc.,' 1842, pp. 57, 60; 

82 These several statements are Downing, 'The Fruits of America, 

taken from the four following works, 1845, pp. I.b9, 195, 200. 
which may, I believe, be trusted : 




Chap. X. 

species. The P. prcecox is supposed by some authors 83 to be the 
parent of the dwarf paradise stock, which, owing to the fibrous roots 
not penetrating deeply into the ground, is so largely used for 
grafting ; but the paradise stocks, it is asserted, 84 cannot be propa- 
gated true by seed. The common wild crab varies considerably in 
England ; but many of the varieties are believed to be escaped 
seedlings. 85 Every one knows the great difference in the manner 
of growth, in the foliage, flowers, and especially in the fruit, between 
the almost innumerable varieties of the apple. The pips or seeds 
(as I know by comparison) likewise differ considerably in shape, 
size, and colour. The fruit is adapted for eating or for cooking in 
various ways, and keeps for only a few weeks or for nearly two 
years. Some few kinds have the fruit covered with a powdery 
secretion, called bloom, like that on plums ; and " it is extremely 
remarkable that this occurs almost exclusively among varieties 
cultivated in Bussia." 86 Another Eussian apple, the white Astracan, 
possesses the singular property of becoming transparent, when ripe, 
like some sorts of crabs. The api etoile has five prominent ridges., 
hence its name ; the api noir is nearly black : the twin cluster pippin 
often bears fruit joined in pairs. 87 The trees of the several sorts 
differ greatly in their periods of leafing and flowering; in my 
orchard the Court Pendu Plat produces leaves so late, that during 
several springs I thought that it was dead. The Tiffin apple 
scarcely bears a leaf when in full bloom ; the Cornish crab, on the 
other hand, bears so many leaves at this period that the flowers 
can hardly be seen. 88 In some kinds the fruit ripens in mid- 
summer ; in others, late in the autumn. These several differences 
in leafing, flowering, and fruiting, are not at all necessarily cor- 
related ; 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 

83 Mr. Lowe states in his ' Flora of 
Madeira' (quoted in ' Gard. Chron.,' 
1862, p. 215) that the P. mains, with 
its nearly sessile fruit, ranges farther 
south than the long-stalked P. acerba, 
which is entirely absent in Madeira, 
the Canaries, and apparently in Por- 
tugal. This fact supports the belief 
that these two forms deserve to be 
called species. But the characters 
separating them are of slight import- 
ance, and of a kind known to vary in 
other cultivated fruit-trees. 

83 See ' Journ. of Hort. Tour, by 
Deputation of the Caledonian Hort. 

Soc.,' 1823, p. 459. 

85 H. C. Watson, 'Cybele Britan- 
nica,' vol. i. p. 334. 

86 Loudon's 'Gardener's Mag.,' vol. 
vi., 1830, p. 83. 

87 See ' Catalogue of Fruit in Gar- 
den of Hort. Soc.,' 1842. and 
Downing's ' American Fruit Trees.' 

88 Loudon's • Gardener's Magazine,' 
vol. iv., 1828, p. 112. 

89 'The Culture of the Apple,' p. 
43. Van Mons makes the same remark 
on the pear, 'Arbres Fruitiers,' torn. 
ii., 1836., p. 414. 

90 Lindley's ' Horticulture,' p. 116 

Chap. X. 



is the glory of the orchards near New York: and so it is with 
several varieties which we have imported from the Continent. On 
the other hand, our Court of Wick succeeds well under the severe 
climate of Canada. The Calvi'Ie roitf/e 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 hear a 
few fruit even during the first year. 91 Mr. Rivers has recently 
described 92 some seedlings valuable from their roots running near 
the surface. One of these seedlings was remarkable from its 
extremely dwarfed size, "forming itself into a bush only a few 
inches in height." Many varieties are particularly liable to canker 
in certain soils. But perhaps the strangest constitutional peculiarity 
is that the Winter Majetin is not attacked by the mealy bug or 
coccus; Lindley 93 states that in an orchard in Norfolk infested 
with these insects the Majetin was quite free, though the stock on 
which it was grafted was affected : Knight makes a similar state- 
ment with respect to a cider apple, and adds that he only once 
saw these insects just above the stock, but that three days after- 
wards they entirely disappeared ; this apple, however, was raised 
from a cross between the Golden Harvey and the Siberian Crab ; 
and the latter, I believe, is considered by some authors as specific- 
ally distinct. 

The famous St. Valery apple must not be passed over; the flower 
has a double calyx with ten divisions, and fourteen styles sur- 
mounted by conspicuous oblique stigmas, but is destitute of stamens 
or corolla. The fruit is constricted round the middle, and is formed 
of five seed-cells, surmounted by nine other cells. 94 Not being 

See also Knight on the Apple-Tree, in 
' Transact, of Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. d. 229. 

91 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. i. 
1812. p. 120. 

92 ' Journal of Horticulture,' March 
13th. 1866, p. 194. 

93 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iv. p. 
68. For Knight's case, see vol. vi. p. 
547. When the coccus first appeared 
in this country, it is said (vol. ii. p. 
163) that it was more injurious to 
crab-stocks than to the apples grafted 
on them. The Majetin apple has been 
found equally free of the coccus at Mel- 
bourne in Australia ( % Gard. Chron.' 
1871, p. 106.")). The wood of this 
tree has been there analysed, and it is 
said (but the fact seems a strange one) 
that its ash contained over 50 per 
cent, of lime, while that of the crab 
exhibited not quite 23 per cent. 
In Tasmania Mr. Wade (' Transact. 

New Zealand Institute/ vol. iv., 1871, 
p. 431) raised seedlings of the Siberian 
Bitter Sweet for stocks, and he found 
barely one per cent, of them attacked 
bv the coccus. Kilev shows (' Fifth 
Report on Insects of Missouri,' 1 873, p. 
87) that in the United States some 
varieties of apples are highly attrac- 
tive to the coccus and others very 
little so. Turning to a very different 
pest, namely, the caterpillar of a 
moth (Carpocapsa pomonetta), Walsh 
affirms (' The American Entomologist,' 
April, 1869, p. 160) that the maiden- 
blush " is entirely exempt from 
apple- worms." So, it is said, are 
some few other varieties; whereas 
others are " peculiarly subject to 
the attacks of this little pest." 

94 ' Mem. de la S >c. Linn, de Paris,' 
torn, iii., 1825, p. 1 64 ; and Seringe, 
'Bulletin Bot.' 1830, p. 117. 

372 FRUITS : Chap. X. 

provided with stamens, the tree requires artificial fertilisation ; and 
the girls of St. Valery annually go to "/aire ses pommes" each 
marking her own fruit with a ribbon; and as different pollen is 
used the fruit differs, and we here have an 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 

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 
■jtrictly inherited. No one can raise, for instance, from the seed of 
vhe Ribston Pippin, a tree of the same kind ; and it is said that the 
• Sister Eibston Pippin " was a white semi-transparent, sour- fleshed 
•vpple, or rather large crab. 96 Yet it was a mistake to suppose that 
with most varieties the characters are not to a certain extent 
mherited. In two lots of seedlings raised from two well-marked 
kinds, many worthless crab-like seedlings will appear, but it is now 
known that the two lots not only usually differ from each other, but 
resemble to a certain extent their parents. We see this indeed in 
the several sub-groups of Ptiissetts, Sweetings, Codlins, Pearmains, 
Reinettfis, &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 
celebrated botanists in Europe, M. Decaisne, has carefully studied 
the many varieties; 98 although he formerly believed that they were 
derived from more than one species, he now thinks that all belong 
to one. He has arrived at this conclusion from finding in the 
several varieties a perfect gradation between the most extreme 
characters ; so perfect is this gradation that he maintains it to be 
impossible to classify the varieties by any natural method. M. 
Decaisne raised many seedlings from four distinct kinds, and has 
carefnlly recorded the variations in each. Notwithstanding this 
extreme degree of variability, it is now positively known that many 
kinds reproduce by seed the leading characters of their race. 99 

Strawberries (Fragaria). — This fruit is remarkable on account 
of the number of species which have been cultivated, and from 

95 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1849, p. des diverses Varie'tes,' in ' Mem. de 
24. l'Acad. Imp. de Lyon,' torn, ii., 1852, 

96 R. Thompson, in 'Gardener's pp. 95, 114. ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 
Chron.,' 1850, p. 788. 1850, pp. 774, 788. 

97 Sageret, ' Pomologie Physiolo- 98 ' Comptes Rendus,' July 6th, 
gique,' 1830, p. 263. Downing's 1863. 

* Fruit Trees,' pp. 130, 134, 139, &c. " 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1856, p. 

Loudon's 'Gardener's Mag.,' vol. viii. 804; 1857, p. 820 ; 1862, p. 1195. 
p. 317. Alexis Jordan, ' De l'Origine 

Chap. X. 



their rapid improvement within the last fifty or sixty years. Let 
any one compare the fruit of one of the largest varieties exhibited 
at our Shows with that of the wild wood strawberry, or, which 
will be a fairer comparison, with the somewhat larger fruit of the 
wild American Virginian Strawberry, and he will see what prodigies 
horticulture has effected. 100 The number of varieties has likewise 
increased in a surprisingly rapid manner. Only three kinds were 
known in France, in 1746, w r here this fruit w r as early cultivated. 
In 1766 five species had been introduced, the same which are now 
cultivated, but only live varieties of Frugaria vesca, with some 
sub-varieties, had been produced. At the present day the varieties 
of the several species are almost innumerable. The species consist 
of, firstly, the wood or Alpine cultivated strawberries, descended 
from F. vesca, a native of Europe and of North America. There 
are eight w r ild European varieties, as ranked by Duchesne, of 
F. vesoc, but several of these are considered species by some 
botanists. Secondly, the green strawberries, descended from the 
European F. colina, and little cultivated in England. Thirdly, 
the Hautbois, from the European F. ehrtior. Fourthly, the Scarlets, 
descended from F. virgin ian<i, a native of the whole breadth of 
North America. Fifthly, the Chili, descended from F. chiloensis, 
an inhabitant ot the west coast of the temperate parts both of 
North and South America. Lastly, the pines or Carolinas (including 
the old Blacks), which have been ranked by most authors under 
the name of F. grandifiora as a distinct species, said to inhabit 
Surinam ; but this is a manifest error. This form is considered 
by the highest authority, M. Gay, to be merely a strongly marked 
race of F. chiloensis. 101 These five or six forms have been ranked 
by most botanists as specifically distinct ; but this may be doubted, 
for Andrew Knight, 102 who raised no less than 400 crossed straw- 
berries, asserts that the F. virginiana, chiloensis and grand/' flora 
" may be made to breed together indiscriminately," and he found, 
in accordance with the principle of analogous variation, "that 
similiar varieties could be obtained from the seeds of any one of 

Since Knight's time there is abundant and additional evidence 103 
of the extent to which the American forms spontaneously cross. 
We owe indeed to such crosses most of our choicest existing 

100 Most of the largest cultivated 
strawberries are the descendants of F. 
grandifiora or chiloensis, and I have 
seen no account of these forms in 
their wild state. Methuen's Scarlet 
(Downing, ' Fruits,' p. 527) has 
" immense fruit of the largest size," 
and belongs to the section descended 
from F. virginiana ; and the fruit of 
this species, as I hear from Prof. A. 
Gray, is only a little larger than that 

of F. vesca, or our common wood- 
straw berry. 

101 ' Le Fraisier,' par le Comte L. de 
Lambertye, 18*54, p. 50. 

102 t Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. iii. 
1820, p. 207. 

103 See an account by Prof. Decaisne, 
and by others in ' Gardener's Chron- 
icle,' 1862, p 335, and 1858, p. 172; 
and Mr. Barnet's paper in ' Hort. 
Soc. Transact.,' vol. vi. 1826, p. 170. 

374 FRUITS : Chap. X. 

varieties. Knight did not succeed m crossing the European wood- 
strawberry with the American Scarlet or with the Hautbois. 
Mr. Williams of Pitmaston, however, succeeded ; but the hybrid 
offspring from the Hautbois, though fruiting well, never produced 
seed, with the exception of a single one, which reproduced the 
parent hybrid form. 10 * Major E. Trevor Clarke informs me that 
he crossed two members of the Pine class (Myatt's B. Queen and 
Keen's Seedling) with the wood and hautbois, and that in each 
case he raised only a single seedling; one of these fruited, but 
was almost barren. Mr. W. Smith, of York, has raised similar 
hybrids with equally poor success. 105 "We thus see 106 that the 
European and American species can with some difficulty be crossed ; 
but it is improbable that hybrids sufficiently fertile to be worth 
cultivation will ever be thus produced. This fact is surprising, 
as these forms structurally are not widely distinct, and are some- 
times connected in the districts where they grow wild, as I hear 
from Professor Asa Gray, by puzzling intermediate forms. 

The energetic culture of the Strawberry is of recent date, and 
the cultivated varieties can in most cases be classed under some 
one of the above native stocks. As the American strawberries 
cross so freely and spontaneously, we can hardly doubt that they 
will ultimately become inextricably confused. We find, indeed, 
that horticulturists at present disagree under which class to rank 
some few of the varieties; and a writer in the ' Bon Jardinier' 
of 1840 remarks that formerly it was possible to class all of them 
under some one species, but that now this is quite impossible with 
the American forms, the new English varieties having completely 
filled up the gaps between them. 107 The blending together of two 
or more aboriginal forms, which there is every reason to believe 
has occurred with some of our anciently cultivated • productions, 
we see now actually occurring with our strawberries. 

The cultivated species offer some variations worth notice. The 
Black Prince, a seedling from Keen's Imperial (this latter being 
a seedling of a very white strawberry, the white Carolina), is 
remarkable from " its peculiar dark and polished surface, and 
from presenting an appearance entirely unlike that of any other 
kind.'" 108 Although the fruit in the different varieties diners so 
greatly in form, size, colour, and quality, the so-called seed (which 
corresponds with the whole fruit in the plum) with the exception 
of being more or less deeply embedded in the pulp, is, according 
to De Jonghe, 109 absolutely the same in all : and this no doubt 

104 Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. v. 1862, p. 721. 

1824. p. 294. 107 <Le Fraisier,' par le Comte Le 

105 'Journal of Horticulture,' Dec. de Lambertye, pp. 221, 230. 

30th, 1862, p. 779. See also Mr. 108 ' Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. vi. 

Prince to the same effect, ibid., 1863, p. 200. 

p. 418. 109 ' Gardiner's Chron.,' 1858, p 

106 For additional evidence see 173. 
' Journal of Horticulture,' Dec. 9th, 


may be accounted for by the seed being of no value, and conse- 
quently 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, or present intermediate 
states. 110 A variety raised by Mr. Myatt, 111 apparently belonging 
to one of the American forms presents a variation of an opposite 
nature, for it has five leaves ; Godron and Lambertye also mention 
a five-leaved variety of F. collina. 

The Eed Bush Alpine strawberry (one of the F. vesca section) 
does not produce stolons or runners, and this remarkable deviation 
of structure is reproduced truly by seed. Another sub-variety, 
the White Bush Alpine, is similarly characterised, but when pro- 
pagated by seed it often degenerates and produces plants with 
runners. 112 A strawberry of the American Pine section is also said 
to make but few runners. 113 

Much has been written on the sexes of strawberries ; the true 
Hautbois properly bears the male and female organs on separate 
plants, 114 and was consequently named by Duchesne dioica ; but 
it frequently produces hermaphrodites; and Lindley, 115 by pro- 
pagating such plants by runners, at the same time destroying 
the males, soon raised a self-prolific stock. The other species 
often showed a tendency towards an imperfect separation of the 
sexes, as I have noticed with plants forced in a hot : house. Several 
English varieties, which in this country are free from any such 
tendency, when cultivated in rich soils under the climate of North 
America 116 commonly produce plants with separate sexes. Thus 
a whole acre of Keen's Seedlings in the United States has been 
observed to be almost sterile from the absence of male flowers ; 
but the more general rule is, that the male plants overrun the 
females. Some members of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, 
especially appointed to investigate this subject, report that " few 
varieties have the flowers perfect in both sexual organs," &c. The 
most successful cultivators in Ohio plant for every seven rows 
of " pistillata," or female plants, one row of hermaphrodites, which 
afford pollen for both kinds; but the hermaphrodites, owing to 
their expenditure in the production of pollen, bear less fruit than 
the female plants. 

The varieties differ in constitution. Some of our l>est English 

110 Godron, 'De 1'Espece,' torn. i. p. vol. vi. p. 210. 

161. 115 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1847, p. 

111 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1851, p. 539. 

440. U6 For the several statements with 

112 F. Gloede in ' Gardener's Chron.,' respect to the American strawberries, 
1862, p. 1053. see Downing, 'Fruits,' p. 524; ' Gar- 

113 Downing's ' Fruits,' p. 532. dener's Chronicle,' 1843, p. 188 ; 1847, 

114 Barnet, in ' Hort. Transact.,' p. 539; 1861, p. 717. 

376 FRUITS : Chap. X. 

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 Quten, 
can be cultivated but in few places either in England or France : 
but this apparently depends more on the nature of the soil than 
on the climate; a famous gardener says that "no mortal could 
grow the British Queen at Shrubland Park unless the whole nature 
of the soil was altered." 117 La Constantine is one of the hardiest 
kinds, and can withstand Eussian winters, but it is easily burnt 
by the sun, so that it will not succeed in certain soils either in 
England or the United States. 118 The Filbert Pine Strawberry 
"requires more water than any other variety; and if the plants 
once suffer from drought, they will do little or no good afterwards." 119 
Cuthill's Black Prince Strawberry evinces a singular tendency 
to mildew ; no less than six cases have been recorded of this variety 
suffering severely, whilst other varieties growing close by, and 
treated in exactly the same manner, were not at all infested by 
this fungus. 120 The time of maturity differs much in the different 
varieties : some belonging to the wood or alpine section produce 
a succession of crops throughout the summer. 

Gooseberry (Itibes grossularia). — No one, I believe, has hitherto 
doubted that all the cultivated kinds are sprung from the wild 
plant bearing this name, which is common in Central and Northern 
Europe; therefore it will be desirable briefly to specify all the 
points, though not very important, which have varied. If it be 
admitted that ttiese differences are due to culture, authors perhaps 
will not be so ready to assume the existence of a large number 
of unknown wild parent-stocks for our other cultivated plants. 
The gooseberry is not alluded to by writers of the classical period. 
Turner mentions it in 1573, and Parkinson specifies eight varieties 
in 1629 ; the Catalogue of the Horticultural Society for 1842 gives 
149 varieties, and the lists of the Lancashire nursevmen are said 
to include above 300 names. 121 In the ' Gooseberry Grower s 
Register ' for 1862 I find that 243 distinct varieties have won prizes 
at various periods, so that a vast number must have been exhibited. 
No doubt the difference between many of the varieties is very 
small ; but Mr. Thompson in classifying the fruit for the Horti- 
cultural 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 

117 Mr. D. Beaton, in 'Cottage 207. 

Gardener,' 1860, p. 86. See also U9 Mr. H. Doubleday in 'Gardener's 

Cottage Gardener,' 1855, p. 88, and Chron.,' 1862, p. 1101. 

many other authorities. For the 120 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1854, p. 

Continent, see F. Gloede, in ' Gar- 254. 

dener's Chronicle,' 1862, p. 1053. m Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Garden- 

118 Rev. W. F. Radclyffe, in 'Jour- ing,' p. 930; and Alph. De Candolle, 
nal of Hort.,' March 14, 1865, p. ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 910. 


sorts with wrong names," and this shows that all the kinds, 
numerous as they are, can be recognised with certainty. 

The bushes differ in their manner of growth, being erect, or 
spreading, or pendulous. The periods of leafing and flowering 
differ both absolutely and relatively to each other thus the White- 
smith produces early flowers, which from not being protected 
by the foliage, as it is believed, continually fail to produce fruit. 122 
The leaves vary in size, tint, and in depth of lobes; they are 
smooth, downy, or hairy on the upper surface. The branches 
are more or less downy or spinose ; " the Hedgehog has probably 
derived its name from the singular bristly condition of its shoots 
and fruit." The branches of the wild gooseberry, I may remark, 
are smooth, with the exception of thorns at the bases of the buds. 
The thorns themselves are either very small, few and single, or 
very large and triple ; they are sometimes reflexed and much 
dilated at their bases. In the different varieties the fruit varies 
in abundance, in the period of maturity, in hanging until shrivelled, 
and greatly in size, " some sorts having their fruit large during 
a very early period of growth, whilst others are small, until nearly 
ripe." The fruit varies also much in colour, being red, yellow, 
green, and white — the pulp of one dark-red gooseberry being 
tinged with yellow ; in flavour ; in being smooth or downy, — few, 
however, of the Red gooseberries, whilst many of the so-called 
"Whites, are downy ; or in being so spinose that one kind is called 
Henderson's Porcupine. Two kinds acquire when mature a powdery 
bloom on their fruit. The fruit varies in the thickness and vein- 
ing 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 bracteae ; 
and this is the most singular deviation of structure which I have 
observed. These same flowers also varied much in the number of 
the petals, and occasionally in the number of the stamens and 
pistils ; so that they were semi-monstrous in structure, yet they 
produced plenty of fruit. Mr. Thompson remarks that in the 

122 Loudon's 'Gardener's Magazine,' 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' vol. i., 2nd 
vol. iv. 1828, p. 112. series, 1835, p. 218, from which 

123 The fullest account of the goose- most of the foregoing facts are taken. 
\>erry is given by Mr. Thompson in 


378 FKUITS I Chap. X. 

Pastime gooseberry " extra bracts are often attached to the sides of 
the fruit." 124 

The most interesting point in the history of the gooseberry is the 
steady increase in the size of the fruit. Manchester is the 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 Register' is published annually ; the earliest known copy 
is dated 1786, but it is certain that meetings for the adjudication of 
prizes were held some years previously. 125 The f Register ' for 1845 
gives an account of 171 Gooseberry Shows, held in different places 
during that year ; and this fact shows on how large a scale the 
culture has been carried on. The fruit of the wild gooseberry is 
said lL6 to weigh about a quarter of an ounce or 5 dwts , that is, 120 
grains ; about the year 1786 gooseberries were exhibited weighing 
dwts., so that the weight was then doubled; in 1817 26 dwts. 17 
grs. was attained ; there was no advance till 1825, when 31 dwts. 
16 grs. was reached ; in 1830 " Teazer " weighed 32 dwts. 13 grs. ; 
in 1841 " Wonderful " weighed 32 dwts. 16 grs. ; in 1844 " London " 
weighed 35 dwts. 12 grs., and in the following year 36 dwts. 16 
grs. ; and in 1852, in Staffordshire, the fruit of the same variety 
reached the astonishing weight of 37 dwts. 7 grs., 127 or 896 grs. ; 
that is, between seven or eight times the weight of the wild fruit. 
I find that a small apple, 6^ inches in circumference, has exactly 
this same weight. The " London " gooseberry (which in 1852 had 
altogether gained 333 prizes) has, up to the present year of 1875, 
never reached a greater weight than that attained in 1852. Perhaps 
the fruit of the gooseberry has now reached the greatest possible 
weight, unless in the course of time some new and distinct variety 
shall arise. 

This gradual, and on the whole steady increase of weight from 
the latter part of the last century to the year 1852, is probably in 
large part d ue to improved methods of cultivation, for extreme care 
is now taken ; the branches and roots are trained, composts are 
made, the soil is mulched, and only a few berries are left on each 
bush ; 128 but the increase no doubt is in main part due to the 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. 

124 'Catalogue of Fruits of Hort. m ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1844, p. 

Soc. Garden,' 3rd edit. 1842. 811, where a table is given; and 1845, 

m Mr. Clarkson, of Manchester, on p. 819. For the extreme weights 

the Culture of the Gooseberry, in gained, see ' Journal of Horticulture,' 

Loudon's 'Gardener's Magazine,' vol. Julv 26, 1864, p. 61. 
iv. 1828, p. 482. 128 Mr. Saul, of Lancaster, in Lou- 

126 Downing's ' Fruits of America,' don's ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. iii. 1828, 

p. 213. p. 421 ; and vol. x. 1834, p. 42. 

Chap. X WALNUT. 379 

Walnut (Jnglaus regid). — This tree and the common nut belong 
to a widely different order from the foregoing fruits, and are there- 
fore here noticed. The walnut grows wild on the Caucasus and in 
the Himalaya, where Dr. Hooker 129 found the fruit of full size, but 
l 'as hard as a hickory-nut." It has been found fossil, as M. de 
Saporta informs me, in the tertiary formation, of France. 

In England the walnut presents considerable differences, in the 
shape and size of the fruit, in the thickness of the husk, and in the 
thinness of the shell ; this latter quality has given rise to a variety 
called the thin-shelled, which is valuable, but suffers from the 
attacks of tit-mice. 130 The degree to which the kernel fills the 
shell varies much. In France there is a variety called the Grape 
or cluster- walnut, in which the nuts grow in "bunches of ten, 
fifteen, or even twenty together." There is another variety which 
bears on the same tree differently shaped leaves, like the hetero- 
phyllous hornbeam; this tree is also remarkable from having 
pendulous branches, and bearing elongated, large, thin-shelled 
nuts. 131 M. Cardan has minutely described 132 some singular physi- 
ological peculiarities in the June-leafing variety, which produces 
its leaves and flowers four or five weeks later than the common 
varieties ; and although in August it is apparently in exactly the 
same state of forwardness as the other kinds, it retains its leaves and 
fruit much later in the autumn. These constitutional peculiarities 
are strictly inherited. Lastly, walnut-trees, which are properly 
monoicous, sometimes entirely fail to produce male flowers. 133 

Nats (Corylus avellana). — Most botanists rank all the varieties 
under the same species, the common wild nut. 134 The husk, or 
involucre, differs greatly, being extremely short in Barrs Spanish, 
and extremely long in filberts, in which it is contracted so as to 
prevent the nut falling out. This kind of husk also protects the 
nut from birds, for titmice (Parus) have been observed 135 to pass 
over filberts, and attack cobs and common nuts growing in the 
same orchard. In the purple-filbert the husk is purple, and in the 
frizzled-filbert it is curiously laciniated; in the red-filbert the 
pellicle of the kernel is red. The shell is thick in some varieties, 
but is thin in Cosford's-nut, and in one variety is of a bluish colour. 
The nut itself differs much in size and shape, being ovate and 
compressed in filberts, nearly round and of great size in cobs and 

129 ' Himalayan Journals,' 1854, 1849, p. 101. 

vol. ii. p. 334. Moorcroft (' Travels,' 133 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1847, 

vol. ii. p. 146) describes four varieties pp. 541 and 558. 

cultivated in Kashmir. 134 The following details are taken 

130 'Gardener's Chronicle,' 1850, from the 'Catalogue of Fruits, 1842, 
p. 723. in Garden of Hort. Soc.,' p. 103; and 

131 Paper translated in Loudon's from Loudon's ' Encyclop. of Garden- 
1 Gardener's Mag.,' 1829, vol. v. p. ing,' p. 943. 

202. I35 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1860, p. 

132 Quoted in ' Gardener's Chron.,' 956. 


Spanish nuts, oblong and longitudinally striated in Cosford's, and 
obtusely four-sided in the Downton Square nut. 

Cucurbitaceous plants. — These plants have been for a long period 
the opprobrium of botanists; numerous varieties have been ranked 
as species, and, what happens more rarely, forms which now must 
be considered as species have been classed as varieties. Owing to 
the admirable experimental researches of a distinguished botanist, 
M. Naudin, 136 a flood of light has recently been thrown on this 
group of plants. M. Naudin, during many years, observed and 
experimented on above 1200 living specimens, collected from all 
quarters of the world. Six species are now recognised in the genus 
Cucurbita ; but three alone have been cultivated and concern us, 
namely, C. maxima and pepo, which include all pumpkins, gourds, 
squashes, and the vegetable marrow, and C. moschata. These three 
species are not known in a wild state ; but Asa Gray 137 gives good 
reason for believing that some pumpkins are natives of N. America. 

These three species are closely allied, and have the same general 
habit, but their innumerable varieties can always be distinguished, 
according to Naudin, by certain almost fixed characters ; and what 
is still more important, when crossed they yield no seed, or only 
sterile seed; whilst the varieties spontaneously intercross with the 
utmost freedom. Naudin insists strongly (p. 15), that, though 
these three species have varied greatly in many characters, yet it 
has been in so closely an analogous manner that the varieties can 
be arranged in almost parallel series, as we have seen with the 
forms of wheat, with the two main races of the peach, and in other 
cases. Though some of the varieties are inconstant in character, 
yet others, when grown separately under uniform conditions of life, 
are, as Naudin repeatedly (pp. 6, 16, 35) urges, " douees dune 
stabilite presque comparable a celle des especes les mieux caracte- 
risees.'* One variety, l'Orangin (pp. 43, 63), has such prepotency in 
transmitting its character, that when crossed with other varieties a 
vast majority of the seedlings come true. Naudin, referring (p. 47) 
to C. pepo, says that its races " ne different des especes veritables 
qu'en ce gu'elles peuvent s'allier les unes aux autres par voie 
d'hybridite, sans que leur descendance perde la faculte de se 
perpetuer." If we were to trust to external differences alone, and 
give up the test of sterility, a multitude of species would have to 
be formed out of the varieties of these three species of Cucurbita. 
Many naturalists at the present day lay far too little stress, in my 
opinion, on the test of sterility; yet it is not improbable that 
distinct species of plants after a long course of cultivation and 
variation may have their mutual sterility eliminated, as we have 
every reason to believe has occurred with domesticated animals. 
Nor, in the case of plants under cultivation, should we be justified 

186 ' Annales des Sc. Nat. Bot.' 4th m 'American Journ. of Science,' 

series, vol. vi. 1856, p. 5. 2nd ser. vol. xxiv. 1857, p. 442. 


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 value that of another by more than 
two thousand fold! When the fruit is of very large size, the 
number produced is few (p. 45) ; when of small size, many are 
produced. No less astonishing (p. 33) is the variation in the shape 
of the fruit, the typical form apparently is, egg-like, but this 
becomes either drawn out into a cylinder, or shortened into a flat 
disc. We have also an almost infinite diversity in the colour and 
state of surface of the fruit, in the hardness both of the shell and of 
the flesh, and in the taste of the flesh, which is either extremely 
sweet, failnaceous, 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 repre- 
sented by various semi-monstrous organs, or are quite absent. The 
tendrils are even absent in some running varieties in which the 
stems are much elongated. It is a singular fact that (p. 31) in all 
the varieties with dwarfed stems, the leaves closely resemble each 
i ther in shape. 

Those naturalists who believe in the immutability of species 
often maintain that, even in the most variable forms, the 
characters which they consider of specific value are unchange- 
able. 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 varia- 
tions du fruit, les tiges, les feuilles, les calices, les corolles, les 
etamines restent invariables dans chacune d'elles." Yet M. 
Naudin, in describing Cucurbita pepo (p. 30), says, " Ici, 
d'ailleurs, ce ne sont pas seulement les fruits qui varient, c r est 
aussi le feuillage et tout le port de la plante. Neanmoins, je 
crois qu'on la distinguera toujours facilement des deux autres 
especes, si Ton veut ne pas perdre de vue les caracteres 

138 Gartner, ' Bastarderzeugung,' Nicotiana, see Kolreuter, 'Zweite 

1849, s. 87, and s. 169 with respect Forts.,' 1764, s. 53 ; though this is a 

to Maize ; on Verbascum, ibid., ss. 92 somewhat different case, 

and 181; also his ' Kenntniss der Be- 130 ' De l'Espece,' par M. Godron, 

truihtung," s. 137. With respect to torn. ii. p. 64. . 


differentiels que je m'efforce de faire ressortir. Ces 
caracteres sont quelquefois peu marques : il arrive meme que 
plusieurs d'entre eux s'effacent presque entierement, mais il en 
reste toujours quelques-uns qui remettent l'observateur sur la 
voie." Now let it be noted what a difference, with regard to 
the 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 un- 
important, and under a systematic point of view this is quite 
correct. But as long as constancy is thus taken as the 
criterion of importance, it will indeed be long before an 
important organ can be shown to be inconstant. The enlarged 
form of the stigmas, and their sessile position on the summit 
of the ovary, must be considered as important characters, and 
were used by Gasparini to separate certain pumpkins as a 
distinct genus ; but Naudin sa} T s (p. 20), these parts have no 
constancy, and in the flowers of the Turban varieties of G. 
maxima they sometimes resume their ordinary structure. 
Again, in C. maxima, the carpels (p. 19) which form the 
turban project even as much as two-thirds of their length 
out of the receptacle, and this latter part is thus reduced to a 
sort of platform ; but this remarkable structure occurs only 
in certain varieties, and graduates into the common form in 
which the carpels are almost entirely enveloped within the 
receptacle. In C. moschata the ovarium (p. 50) varies greatly 
in shape, being oval, nearly spherical, or cylindrical, more 
or less swollen in the upper part, or constricted round the 
middle, and either straight or curved. When the ovarium is 
short and oval the interior structure does not differ from that 
of C. maxima and pepo, but when it is elongated the carpels 
occupy only the terminal and swollen portion. I may add 
that in one variety of the cucumber (Cucumis sativus) the 
fruit regularly contains five carpels instead of three. 140 T 

140 Naudin, in ' Annal. des Sc. Nat.,' 4th ser. Bot. torn. xi. 1850, p. 28. 


presume tliat 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 
classifies tory importance. 

Sageret 141 and Naudin found that the encumber (C. satiws) 
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 14 ' 2 that there is a race of melons, in which the fruit is 
so like that of the cucumber, " both externally and internally, that 
it is hardly possible to distinguish the one from the other except 
by the leaves." The varieties of the melon seem to be endless, 
for Naudin after six years' study had not come to the end of them : 
he divides them into ten sections, including numerous sub- varieties 
which all intercross with perfect ease. 143 Of the forms considered 
by Naudin to be varieties, botanists have made thirty distinct 
species ! " and they had not the slightest acquaintance with the 
multitude of new forms which have appeared since their time." 
Nor is the creation of so many species at all surprising when we 
consider how strictly their characters are transmitted by seed, 
and how wonderfully they differ in appearance : " Mira est quidem 
foliorum et habitus diversitas, sed multo magis fructuum," says 
Naudin. The fruit is the valuable part, and this, in accordance 
with the common rule, is the most modified part. Some melons 
are only as large as small plums, others weigh as much as sixty-six 
pounds. One variety has a scarlet fruit! Another is not more 
than an inch in diameter, but sometimes more than a yard in 
length, "twisting about in all directions like a serpent." It is 
a singular fact that in this latter variety many parts of the plant, 
namely, the stems, the footstalks of the female flowers, the middle 
lobe of the leaves, and especially the ovarium, as well as the mature 
fruit, ali show a strong tendency to become elongated. Several 
varieties of the melon are interesting from assuming the charateristic 
features of distinct species and even of distinct though allied 
genera : thus the serpent-melon has some resemblance to the fruit 
of Trichosanthes anguina ; we have seen that other varieties closely 
resemble cucumbers; some Egyptian varieties have their seeds 
attached to a portion of the pulp, and this is characteristic of 
certain wild forms. Lastly, a variety of melon from Algiers is 

141 ' Memoire sur les Cucurbitacees,' Memoir on Cucumis in ' Annal. des Sc. 

1826, pp. 6, 24. Nat.,' 4th series, Bot. torn. xi. 1859, 

»« ' Flore des Serres,' Oct. 1861, p. 5. 
quoted in ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 143 See also Sageret's ' Memoire/ 

1861, p. 1135. I have often consulted p. 7. 
and taken some facts from M. Naudin's 

384 TREES : Chap. X. 

remarkable from announcing its maturity by " a spontaneous 
and almost sudden dislocation/' when deep cracks suddenly appear, 
and the fruit falls to pieces; and this occurs with the wild C. momor- 
dica. Finally, M. Naudin well remarks that this " extraordinary 
production of races and varieties by a single species and their 
permanence when not interfered with by crossing, are phenomena 
well calculated to cause reflection." 

Useful and Ornamental Trees. 

Trees deserve a passing notice on account of the numerous varieties 
which they present, differing in their precocity, in their manner of 
growth, their foliage, and. bark. Thus of the common ash (Fraxinus 
excelsior') the catalogue of Messrs. Lawson of Edinburgh includes 
twenty-one varieties, some of which differ much in their bark; 
there is a yellow, a streaked reddish-white, a purple, a wart-barked 
and a fungous-barked variety. 141 Of hollies no less than eighty-four 
varieties are grown alongside each other in Mr. Paul's nursery. 145 
In the case of trees, all the recorded varieties, as far as I can find 
out, have been suddenly produced by one single act of variation. 
The length of time required to raise many generations, and the little 
value set on the fanciful varieties, explains how it is that successive 
modifications have not been accumulated by selection ; hence, 
also, it follows that we do not here meet with sub- varieties subor- 
dinate 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 143 says that there 
is not a forester who does not search for seeds from that variety 
which he esteems the most valuable. 

Our useful trees have seldom been exposed to any great change 
of conditions; they have not been richly manured, and the English 
kinds grow under their proper climate. Yet in examining extensive 
beds of seedlings in nursery-gardens considerable differences may 
be generally observed in them; and whilst touring in England 
I have been surprised at the amount of difference in the appearance 
of the same species in our hedgerows and woods. But as plants 
vary so much in a truly wild state, it would be difficult for even 
a skilful botanist to pronounce whether, as I believe to be the 
case, hedgerow trees vary more than those growing in a primeval 
forest. Trees when planted by man in woods or hedges do not 
grow where they would naturally be able to hold their place 
against a host of competitors, and are therefore exposed to conditions 
not strictly natural : even this slight change would probably suffice 
to cause seedlings raised from such trees to be variable. Whether 
or not our half- wild English trees, as a general rule, are moro 

144 Loudon's ' Arboretum et Fruti- 1096. 
cetum,' vol. ii. p. 1217. 146 ' Geograph. Bot.,' p. 1096. 

115 • Gardener's Chronicle,' 1866, p. 

Chap. X. TREES. 385 

variable than trees growing in their native forests, there can hardly 
be a doubt that they have yielded a greater number of strongly- 
marked and singular variations of structure. 

In manner of growth, we have weeping or pendulous varieties 
of the willow, ash, elm, oak, and yew, and other trees ; and this 
weeping habit is sometimes inherited, though in a singularly 
capricious manner. In the Lombardy poplar, and in certain 
fastigiate or pyramidal varieties of thorns, junipers, oaks, &c, we 
have an opposite kind of growth. The Hessian oak, 147 which is 
famous from its fastigiate habit and size, bears hardly any resem- 
blance in general appearance to a common oak ; " its acorns are 
not sure to produce plants of the same habit ; some, however, turn 
out the same as the parent-tree." Another fastigiate oak is said 
to have been found wild in the Pyrenees, and this is a surprising 
circumstance; it generally comes so true by seed, that De Candolle 
considered it as specifically distinct. 148 The fastigiate Juniper 
(V. suecica) likewise transmits its character by seed. 149 Dr. Falconer 
informs me that in the Botanic Gardens at Calcutta the great heat 
caused apple-trees to become fastigiate ; and we thus see the same 
result following from the effects of climate and from some unknown 
cause. 150 

In foliage we have variegated leaves which are often inherited ; 
dark purple or red leaves, as in the hazel, barberry, and beech, 
the colour in these two latter trees being sometimes strongly and 
sometimes weakly inherited ; 151 deeply-cut leaves ; and leaves 
covered with prickles, as in the variety of the holly well called 
ferox, which is said to reproduce itself by seed. 152 In fact, nearly 
all the peculiar varieties evince a tendency, more or less strongly 
marked, to reproduce themselves by seed. 153 This is to a certain 
extent the case, according to Bosc, 154 with three varieties of the 
elm, namely, the broad-leafed, lime-leafed, and twisted elm, in which 
latter the fibres of the wood are twisted. Even with the hetero- 
phyllous hornbeam (Carpinus hetulus), which bears on each twig 
leaves of two shapes, " several plants raised from seed all retained 
" the same peculiarity." 155 I will add only one other remarkable 
case of variation in foliage, namely, the occurrence of two sub- 
varieties of the ash with simple instead of pinnated leaves, and 

147 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1842, p. graph. Bot.,' p. 1083. Verlot, 'Sur 
36. la Production des Varie'te's,' 1865 ; p. 

148 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- 55 for the Barberrv. 

cetum,' vol. iii. p. 1731. 152 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- 

149 Ibid.,' vol. iv. p. 2489. cetum,' vol. ii. p. 508. 

150 Godron (' De l'Espeee,' torn. ii. 153 Veriot, ' Des Varietes,' 1865, 
p. 91) describes four varieties of Ro- p. 92. 

binia remarkable from their manner 154 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- 

of growth, cetum,' vol. iii. p. 1376. 

151 ' Journal of a Horticultural 155 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1841, 
Tour, by Caledonian Hort. Soc.,' 1823, p. 687. 

l>. 107. Alph. De Candolle, 'Geo- 

386 TKEES. Chap. X 

which generally transmit their character by seed. 156 The occur- 
rence, in trees belonging to widely different orders, of weeping 
and fastigate varieties, and of trees bearing deeply cut, variegated, 
and purple leaves, shows that these deviations of structure must 
result from some very general physiological laws. 

Differences in general appearance and foliage, not more strongly 
marked than those above indicated, have led good observers to 
rank as distinct species certain forms which are now known to be 
mere varieties. Thus, a plane-tree long cultivated in England 
was considered by almost every one as a North American species : 
but is now ascertained by old records, as I am informed by Dr. 
Hooker, to be a variety. So, again, the Thuja pendula or filiformis 
was ranked by such good observers as Lambert, Wallich, and 
others, as a true species ; but it is now known that the original 
plants, five in number, suddenly appeared in a bed of seedlings, 
raised at Mr. Loddige's nursery, from T. orientalise and Dr. Hooker 
has adduced excellent evidence that at Turin seeds of T. pendula 
have reproduced the parent form, T. orientalis. 157 

Every one must have noticed how certain individual trees regu- 
larly 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 versa, and both grafts kept to their proper periods, which 
differed by about a fortnight, as if they still grew on their own 
stocks. 158 There is a Cornish variety of the elm which is almost 
an evergreen, and is so tender that the shoots are often killed 
by the frost; and the varieties of the Turkish oak (Q. cerris) may 
be arranged as deciduous, sub-evergreen, and evergreen. 159 

Scotch Fir (Pinus sylvestris). — I allude to this tree as it bears on 
the question of the greater variability of our hedgerow trees com- 
pared with those under strictly natural conditions. A well-informed 
writer 160 states that the Scotch fir presents few varieties in its 
native Scotch forests; but that it "varies much in figure and 
" foliage, and in the size, shape, and colour of its cones, when several 
" generations have been produced away from its native locality. " 
There is little doubt that the highland and lowland varieties differ 
in the value of their timber, and that they can be propagated truly 

156 Godron, ' De l'Espece,' torn. ii. 158 Quoted from Royal Irish Aca- 
p. 89. In Loudon's ' Gardener's Mag.,' demy in ' Gardener's Chron.,' 18-41, p. 
vol. xii., 1836, p. 371, a variegated 767. 

bushy ash is described and figured, as 159 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fruti- 

having simple leaves ; it originated in cetum :' for Elm, see vol. iii. p. 1376 , 

Ireland. for Oak, p. 1846. 

157 'Gardener'? Chron.,' 1863, p. 160 ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1849, p. 
575. 822. 

Chap. X. TKEES. 387 

by seed ; thus justifying Loudon's remark, that " a variety is often 
" of as much importance as a species, and sometimes far more so." 161 
I may mention one rather important point in which this tree occa- 
sionally varies; in the classification of the Coniferse, sections are 
founded on whether two, three, or five leaves are included in the 
same sheath; the Scotch fir has properly only two leaves thus 
enclosed, but specimens have been observed with groups of three 
leaves in a sheath. 192 Besides these differences in the semi-culti- 
vated Scotch fir, there are in several parts of Europe natural or 
geographical races, which have been ranked by some authors as 
distinct species. 103 Loudon 164 considers P. pumilio, with its several 
sub-varieties, as mughus, 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 oxyacantha) has varied much. Besides 
endless slighter variations in the form of the leaves, and in the size, 
hardness, fleshiness, and shape of the berries, Loudon 165 enumerates 
twenty-nine well-marked varieties. Besides those cultivated for 
their pretty flowers, there are others with golden-yellow, black, and 
whitish berries; others with woolly berries, and others with re- 
curved thorns. Loudon truly remarks that the chief reason why 
the hawthorn has yielded more varieties than most other trees, 
is that nurserymen select any remarkable variety out of the 
immense beds of seedlings which are annually raised for making 
hedges. 1 he 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 

lei 'Arboretum et Fruticetum,' 164 'Arboretum et Fruticetum,' vol. 

vol. iv. p. 2150. iv. pp. 2159 and 2189. 

ly2 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1852, p. 165 Ibid.,' vol. ii. p. 830; Loudon's 

093. ' Gardener's Mag.,' vol. vi. 183u, p. 

163 See ' Beitr'age zur Kenntniss 714. 

Europaischer Pinus-arten von Dr. 166 Loudon's 'Arboretum et Fru- 

Christ : Flora, 1864-.' He sbows that ticetum,' vol. ii. p. 834. 

in the Ober-Engadin P. sylvestris and 16: Loudon's ' Gardiner's Mag.,' vol. 

montana are connected by interme- ix. 1833, p. 123. 

diate links. 168 Ibid., vol. xi. 1835. p. 503. 

388 FLOWERS. Chap. X. 

that of the Atlas, are distinguished with the greatest ease whilst 
young, but with difficulty when old. 


I shall not for several reasons treat the variability of plants which 
are cultivated for their flowers alone at any great length. Many of 
our favourite kinds in their present state are the descendants of 
two or more species crossed and commingled together, and this 
circumstance alone would render it difficult to detect the difference 
due to variation. For instance, our Eoses, Petunias, Calceolarias, 
Fuchsias, Verbenas, Gladioli, Pelargoniums, &c, certainly have had 
a multiple origin. A botanist well acquainted with the parent- 
forms would probably detect some curious structural differences in 
their crossed and cultivated descendant; and he would certainly 
observe many new and remarkable constitutional peculiarities. I 
will give a few instances, all relating to the Pelargonium, and taken 
chiefly from Mr. Beck, 169 a famous cultivator of this plant : some 
varieties require more water than others; some are "very impatient 
of the knife if too greedily used in making cuttings ;" some, when 
potted, scarcely " show a root at the outside of the ball of the earth ;" 
one variety requires a certain amount of confinement in the pot to 
make it throw up a flower-stem ; some varieties bloom well at the 
commencement of the season, others at the close ; one variety is 
known, 170 which will stand " even pine-apple top and bottom heat, 
without looking any more drawn than if it had stood in a common 
greenhouse ; and Blanche Fleur seems as if made on purpose for 
growing in winter, like many bulbs, and to rest all summer." These 
odd constitutional peculiarities would enable a plant in a state of 
nature to become adapted to widely different circumstances and 

Flowers possess little interest under our present point of view, 
because they have been almost exclusively attended to and selected 
for their beautiful colour, size, perfect outline, and manner of 
growth. In these particulars hardly one long-cultivated flower can 
be named which has not varied greatly. What does a florist care 
for the shape and structure of the organs of fructification, unless, 
indeed, they add to the beauty of the flower ? When this is the 
case, flowers become modified in important points; stamens and 
pistils may be converted into petals, and additional petals may be 
developed, as in all double flowers. The process of gradual selection 
by which flowers have been rendered more and more double, each 
step in the process of conversion being inherited, has been recorded 
in several instances. In the so-called double flowers of the 
Composite, the corollas of the central florets are greatly modified; 
and the modifications are likewise inherited. In the columbine 

169 'Gardener's Chron.,' 1845, p. dener,' 1860, p. 377. See, also Mr. 
623. Beck, on the habits of Queen Mab, in 

170 D. Beaton, in 'Cottage Gar- ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1845, p. 226. 

Chap. X. FLOWERS. 389 

(Aquilegia vulgaris) some of the stamens are converted into petals 
having the shape of nectaries, one neatly fitting into the other ; but 
in one variety they are converted into simple petals. 171 In the " hose 
in hose " primulas, the calyx becomes brightly coloured and enlarged 
so as to resemble a corolla ; and Mr. W. Wooler informs me that 
this peculiarity is transmitted ; for he crossed a common polyanthus 
with one having a coloured calyx, 172 and some of the seen lings 
inherited the coloured calyx during at least six generations. In the 
" hen-and-chicken" daisy the main flower is surrounded by a brood 
of small flowers developed from buds in the axils of the scales of the in- 
volucre. A wonderful poppy has been described, in which the stamens 
are converted into pistils ; and so strictly was this peculiarity inherited 
that, out of 154 seedlings, one alone reverted to the ordinary and 
common type. 173 Of the cocks-comb (CeJosia cristata), which is an 
annual, there are several races in which the flower-stem is wonder- 
fully "fasciated" or compressed; and one has been exhibited 174 
actually eighteen inches in breadth. Peloric races of Gloxinia 
speciosa and Antirrhinum majus can be propagated by seed, and 
they differ in a wonderful manner from the typical form both in 
structure and appearance. 

A much more remarkable modification has been recorded by Sir 
William and Dr. Hooker 175 in Begonia frigida. This plant properly 
produces male and female flowers on the same fascicles ; and in the 
female flowers the perianth is superior ; but a plant at Kew pro- 
duced, besides the ordinary flowers, others which graduated towards 
a perfect hermaphrodite structure ; and in these flowers the perianth 
was inferior. To show the importance of this modification under a 
classificatory point of view, I may quote what Prof. Harvey says, 
namely, that had it "occurred in a state of nature, and had a 
botanist collected a plant with such flowers, he would not only have 
X>laced it in a distinct genus from Begonia, but would probably 
have considered it as the type of a new natural order." This modi- 
fication cannot in one sense be considered as a monstrosity, for 
analogous structures naturally occur in other orders, as with 
Saxifragae and Aristolochiaceae. 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 

171 Moqnin-Tandon, ' Elements de vol. iv. p. 322. 

Teratologic,' 1841, p. 213. 175 ' Botanical Magazine,' tab. 5160, 

172 See also 'Cottage Gardener,' fig. 4; Dr. Hooker, in 'Gardener's 
1860, p. 133. Chron.,' 1860, p. 190; Prof. Harvey, 

173 Quoted by -Alph. de Candolle, in ' Gardener's Chron.,' 1860, p. 145 ; 
* Bibl. Univ.,' November 1862, p. 58. Mr. Crocker, in ' Gardener's Chron.,' 

174 Knight, 'Transact. Hort. Soc.,' 1861, p. 1092. 

390 FLOWERS. Chap. X. 

modifications of structure besides those which are beautiful, a host 
of curious varieties would certainly have been raised; and they 
would probably have transmitted their characters so truly that the 
cultivator would have felt aggrieved, as in the case of culinary 
vegetables, if his whole bed had not presented a uniform appearance. 
Florists have attended in some instances to the leaves of their plant, 
and have thus produced the most elegant and symmetrical patterns 
of white, red, and green, which, as in the case of the pelargonium, 
are sometimes strictly inherited. 176 Any one who will habitually 
examine hig