But there is not sufficient evidence that any of these ancient dogs belonged to the same identical sub-varieties with our present dogs. (1/7. Berjeau gives facsimiles of the Egyptian drawings. Mr. C.L. Martin in his 'History of the Dog' 1845 copies several figures from the Egyptian monuments, and speaks with much confidence with respect to their identity with still living dogs. Messrs. Nott and Gliddon ('Types of Mankind' 1854 page 388) give still more numerous figures. Mr. Gliddon asserts that a curl-tailed greyhound, like that represented on the most ancient monuments, is common in Borneo; but the Rajah, Sir J. Brooke, informs me that no such dog exists there.) As long as man was believed to have existed on this earth only about 6000 years, this fact of the great diversity of the breeds at so early a period was an argument of much weight that they had proceeded from several wild sources, for there would not have been sufficient time for their divergence and modification. But now that we know, from the discovery of flint tools embedded with the remains of extinct animals in districts which have since undergone great geographical changes, that man has existed for an incomparably longer period, and bearing in mind that the most barbarous nations possess domestic dogs, the argument from insufficient time falls away greatly in value.

Long before the period of any historical record the dog was domesticated in Europe. In the Danish Middens of the Neolithic or Newer Stone period, bones of a canine animal are embedded, and Steenstrup ingeniously argues that these belonged to a domestic dog; for a very large proportion of the bones of birds preserved in the refuse consists of long bones, which it was found on trial dogs cannot devour. (1/8. These, and the following facts on the Danish remains, are taken from M. Morlot's most interesting memoir in 'Soc. Vaudoise des Sc. Nat.' tome 6 1860 pages 281, 299, 320.) This ancient dog was succeeded in Denmark during the Bronze period by a larger kind, presenting certain differences, and this again during the Iron period, by a still larger kind. In Switzerland, we hear from Prof. Rutimeyer (1/9. 'Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten' 1861 s. 117, 162.), that during the Neolithic period a domesticated dog of middle size existed, which in its skull was about equally remote from the wolf and jackal, and partook of the characters of our hounds and setters or spaniels (Jagdhund und Wachtelhund). Rutimeyer insists strongly on the constancy of form during a very long period of time of this the most ancient known dog. During the Bronze period a larger dog appeared, and this closely resembled in its jaw a dog of the same age in Denmark. Remains of two notably distinct varieties of the dog were found by Schmerling in a cave (1/10. De Blainville 'Osteographie, Canidae.'); 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 conquering tribes bringing with them their dogs; and this view accords with the belief that different wild canine animals were domesticated in different regions. Independently of the immigration of new races of man, we know from the wide-spread presence of bronze, composed of an alloy of tin, how much commerce there must have been throughout Europe at an extremely remote period, and dogs would then probably have been bartered. At the present time, amongst the savages of the interior of Guiana, the Taruma Indians are considered the best trainers of dogs, and possess a large breed which they barter at a high price with other tribes.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V1 Page 15

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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