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lescribed in detail, are generally regarded as speci. y distinct. It is not denied that the Bos unsani onofrons, as well as the existing races of non-humped o all come within the one generic—or rather sub. ic-distinction, the Bos taurus. Naturalists, however, e have seen, have arranged the ancient varieties of less cattle into two main species or types, the Bis and the Bos longifrons; and while they would seem ree that these two species represent the sub-generic ion to which domesticated cattle belong, they have unable to arrive at anything like unanimity of opinion which type or “species” has been perpetuated in ing races, or as to whether both have been so pre: d; and, if both have been preserved, in what varieties type has its purest representatives. Some naturalists is that our living races of domesticated cattle are pure modified descendants of the huge urus. Others claim eer-like longsrons as the progenitors of existing races. aps the most generally accepted notion is, that existing sticated cattle are the intermixed descendants of the ncient types. imeyer gives it as his belief that some of the larger ticated races on the Continent and in England, as the semi-wild cattle in Lord Tankerville's Park at gham, are the descendants of the urus. The Chiln cattle, he says, are less altered from the true * an any other known breed. Cuvier, Bell, and would seem to go the length of believing that our ock of living cattle are “the degenerate descendants reat urus,” Nilsson considers that the existing cattle may probably have been derived from the the Bos ionofrons, and the Bossrontos”. Boyd and Darwin are of opinion—and the one quotes to this effect—that “European cattle * derom two species "—namely, the urus and the In his interesting work on The Wild White
Cattle of Great Britain, the late Rev. John Storer devoted himself mainly to the substantiating of his belief that the semi-wild cattle confined in the Chillingham and Cadzow and some other parks were the progeny of the great urus; and that the Bos longifrons, having been “driven with its master, the Celt, to the remote and inaccessible parts which the English could not reach,” has been preserved in the Kyloe of the Highlands of Scotland and in the smaller cattle of Wales. Owen considers it highly improbable that the enormous and savage urus, spoken of by Caesar, was ever tamed so as to be fitted for the uses of man. He believes that the progress of agricultural settlement had caused its “utter extirpation,” just as similar progress in North America is fast driving out the bison, and as it drove out the Aurochs in Europe, and that our knowledge of the urus “is now limited to deductions from its fossil or semi-fossil remains.” Owen suggests that the early domestic cattle in Britain, more particularly in Roman Britain, had been derived mainly from importations of breeds “already domesticated” by the founders of the new British colonies. But, he remarks, “if it should still be contended that the natives of Britain or any part of them obtained their cattle by
taming a primitive wild race, neither the bison nor the
great urus are so likely to have furnished the source of their herds as the smaller primitive wild species or original variety of Bos,” the longifrons. Winding up his concise and complete description of the longifrons, the same writer says: “In this field of conjecture the most probable one will be admitted to be that which points to the Bos longifrons as the species which would be domesticated by the aborigines of Britain before the Roman invasion.” Dr John Alexander Smith, of Edinburgh, who has given much attention to the subject, and whose papers on the “Ancient Cattle of Scotland,” published in the ‘Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, are full of interest
expresses his entire concurrence with Owen's belief as to the extirpation of the urus. Dr Smith adds: “To suppose beasts like these not only tamed, in opposition to such decided evidence to the contrary, but also so strangely degenerated into the comparatively small-sized and placid
ox of the present day, seems really past belief.” He is
inclined to regard the longifrons as “the true origin of our domesticated cattle,” and presents strong evidence in support of the contention. These extracts from noted writers, not by any means comprising all the different views that have been expressed by men entitled to be heard on the subject, will serve to indicate how hopelessly involved the question of the “true origin” of our domestic cattle has become. But while we despair of the discovery of facts calculated to bring all investigators and thinkers to full agreement, we indulge the comfortable conviction that for every practical purpose it matters little which of the varying “beliefs,” “opinions,” and “contentions” referred to is really the correct one. We shall not seriously raise the question as to whether the two recognised types of ancient humpless cattle, the urus and the longifrons, should properly be regarded as “distinct species,” or merely as varieties of one species, the sub-genus Bos taurus, modified in form by food, climate, and other changing conditions. That is indeed a question upon which some pertinent considerations might be submitted; but for our present purpose it will suffice to assure the reader that whether the existing races of domesticated cattle are the descendants of the huge long-horned urus, or the slender short-horned longifrons, or of both combined, the material of which these races are composed and the forces bound up in them are still the same. If (as the late Mr Storer would have us believe) at Chillingham we might look upon a pure descendant of the urus, and in the Highlands of Scotland upon a living specimen of the ancient longifrons, we would
spresses his entire concurrence with Owen's belief as to !e extirpation of the urus. Dr Smith adds: “To suppose easts like these not only tamed, in opposition to such ecided evidence to the contrary, but also so strangely egenerated into the comparatively small-sized and placil x of the present day, seems really past belief." He is iclined to regard the longifrons as “the true origin of ur domesticated cattle,” and presents strong evidence in upport of the contention. These extracts from noted writers, not by any meals omprising all the different views that have been expressel y men entitled to be heard on the subject, will serve to ndicate how hopelessly involved the question of the true origin" of our domestic cattle has become. But while we despair of the discovery of facts calculated to ring all investigators and thinkers to full agreement, we idulge the comfortable conviction that for every practical urpose it matters little which of the varying “belies' opinions," and “contentions” referred to is really the orrect one. We shall not seriously raise the question s to whether the two recognised types of ancient humpss cattle, the urus and the longifrons, should properly e regarded as “distinct species,” or merely as varieties f one species, the sub-genus Bos taurus, modified in form y food, climate, and other changing conditions. That indeed a question upon which some pertinent consider: ons might be submitted; but for our present purpose it ill suffice to assure the reader that whether the existing ces of domesticated cattle are the descendants of the ige long-horned urus, or the slender short-horned longi. ons, or of both combined, the material of which these ces are composed and the forces bound up in them are ll the same. If (as the late Mr Storer would have us lieve) at Chillingham we might look upon a pure scendant of the urus, and in the Highlands of Scotland on a living specimen of the ancient longifrons, we would
in the two cases have before us material of almost conplete sameness—animals so entirely identical in structure, although slightly modified in form by different usage, that in spite of all the arbitrary and fanciful distinctions that naturalists have endeavoured to set up, we would still feel constrained to regard them as having had a common origin in one well-defined if somewhat varying species of the genus Bos, those wild humpless cattle that browsed on the luxuriant plaims in this country during the NewerPliocene period. In leaving this subject, we may present an apt quotation from a footnote in Professor Low's admirable wonk on the “Domestic Animals of Great Britain. In referring to the huge oxen whose skeletons were found in various parts of Europe, Professor Low says these skeletons indicate an animal nearly three times the bulk of the oxen of the present day, and adds that the skeletons have been found “in the same situations as the great extinct Irish Elk, and thus seem to have survived various species with which they were associated, and even perhaps to have survived till within the historic era.” Con. timuing, he says: “A question, however, which has been agitated by naturalists is, Whether these huge animal are the origin of the domestic races, and may not eve have been the uri described by Caesar? The question i one which bears less than is assumed upon the origin ( the existing races. We can, by all the evidence whic the question aduaits of, trace existing races to the ancies uri which, long posterior to the historical era, inhabit the forests of Germany, Gaul, Britain, and other countri It is a question involving an entirely different series considerations, whether these wri were themselves scended from an anterior race, surpassing them in mag tude, and inhabiting the globe at the same time W other extinct species. While there is nothing that directly support this hypothesis, there is nothing certai
founded on analogy that can enable us to invalidate it. There is nothing more incredible in the supposition that animals should diminish in size, with changes in the condition of the earth, than that they should be extinguished altogether, and supplanted by new species. The fossil urus inhabited Europe when a very different condition existed with regard to temperature, the supplies of vegetable food, and the consequent development of animal forms. Why should not the urus, under these conditions, have been a far larger animal than he subsequently became 2 We know by experience the effects of food in increasing or diminishing the size of this very race of animals. The great ox of the Lincolnshire fens exceeds in size the little ox of Barbary or the Highland hills, as much as the fossil urus exceeded the larger oxen of Germany and England; and we cannot consider it as incredible, that animals which inhabited Europe when elephants found food and a climate suited to their natures, should have greatly surpassed in magnitude the same species under the present conditions of the same countries.”
“d on analogy that can enable us to invalidate it is nothing more incredible in the supposition that ls should diminish in size, with changes in the tion of the earth, than that they should be extin. ed altogether, and supplanted by new species. The urus inhabited Europe when a very different con. existed with regard to temperature, the supplies getable food, and the consequent development of tl forms. Why should not the urus, under these tions, have been a far larger animal than he subse. ly became * We know by experience the effects d in increasing or diminishing the size of this very of animals. The great ox of the Lincolnshire sens ds in size the little ox of Barbary or the Highland as much as the fossil urus exceeded the larger of Germany and England; and we cannot consider ncredible, that animals which inhabited Europe when ints found food and a climate suited to their natures, I have greatly surpassed in magnitude the same s under the present conditions of the same coul.
ORIGIN OF POLLEI) RACES OF CATTLE.
Speculation as to origin of hornless cattle—Their antiquity—Their distinctiveness—Letter from Darwin on loss of horns—Letter from Dr John Alexander Smith—Professor Low's opinion—Absence of horns — Deviation from original form–Loss of horns before and after domestication—Preserved and fixed by selection in breeding — Acquaintance with principles of breeding in early times—Advice of Palladius, Columella, and Virgil–Distribution of polled cattle–Polled cattle in Austria, South America, Norway, and Iceland–In Cheshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Devonshire, in England–In Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, and Isle of Skye, in Scotland— In Ireland—Existing polled breeds in United Kingdom—The Galloway breed—Norfolk and Suffolk polls.
REGARDING the probable derivation of the polled varieties of cattle, there has been considerable speculation. As far as our present knowledge extends, the subject is found to rest mainly on conjecture. By some it has been seriously argued that polled cattle are entitled to be ranked as an original and distinct species. We have even met with the assertion that their polled progenitors first saw the post-diluvian world at the “general dispersion on Moun Ararat” Without going either so far back or so high up for their origin, the majority of thoughtful writers wh have given attention to the subject are prepared to assig to the principal living varieties or breeds of polled ( hormless cattle a separate existence for a long period time. The idea which finds most favour—and we belie"