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. (2/4. 'The Horse' etc. by John Lawrence 1829 page 14.) The number of ribs on each side is properly eighteen, but Youatt (2/5. 'The Veterinary' London volume 5 page 543.) 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 (2/6. 'Memoire sur les chevaux a trente-quatre cotes' 1871.), 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 (2/7. 'Proc. Veterinary Assoc.' in 'The Veterinary' volume 13 page 42.) speaks of an additional bone in the hock, and of certain abnormal appearances between the tibia and astragalus, as quite common in Irish horses, and not due to disease. Horses have often been observed, according to M. Gaudry (2/8. 'Bulletin de la Soc. Geolog.' tome 22 1866 page 22.), to possess a trapezium and a rudiment of a fifth metacarpal bone, so that "one sees appearing by monstrosity, in the foot of the horse, structures which normally exist in the foot of the Hipparion,"--an allied and extinct animal. In various countries horn-like projections have been observed on the frontal bones of the horse: in one case described by Mr. Percival they arose about two inches above the orbital processes, and were "very like those in a calf from five to six months old," being from half to three- quarters of an inch in length. (2/9. Mr. Percival of the Enniskillen Dragoons in 'The Veterinary' volume 1 page 224: see Azara, 'Des Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 page 313. The French translator of Azara refers to other cases mentioned by Huzard as having occurred in Spain.) Azara has described two cases in South America in which the projections were between three and four inches in length: other instances have occurred in 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. (2/10. Godron, 'De l'Espece' tome 1 page 378.) Even in so fleeting a character as colour, Hofacker (2/11. 'Ueber die Eigenschaften' etc. 1828 s. 10.) 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 (2/12. 'Domesticated Animals of the British Islands' pages 527, 532. In all the veterinary treatises and papers which I have read, the writers insist in the strongest terms on the inheritance 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 observed.) has remarked, the English race-horse offers the best possible evidence of inheritance. The pedigree of a race-horse is of more value in judging of its probable success than its appearance: "King Herod" gained in prizes 201,505 pounds sterling, and begot 497 winners; "Eclipse" begot 334 winners.

Whether the whole amount of difference between the various breeds has arisen under domestication is doubtful. From the fertility of the most distinct breeds (2/13. Andrew Knight crossed breeds so different in size as a dray-horse and Norwegian pony: see A. Walker on 'Intermarriage' 1838 page 205.) when crossed, naturalists have generally looked at all the breeds as having descended from a single species.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V1 Page 35

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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