Quatrefages quotes Philippi 'Revue des Cours Scientifiques' February 12, 1688 page 657, that the cattle of Piacentino have thirteen dorsal vertebrae and ribs in the place of the ordinary number of twelve.), it is worth notice that with our domestic cows the two rudimentary mammae often become fairly well developed and yield milk.

As numerous breeds are generally found only in long-civilised 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 communication, several distinct breeds of cattle now exist or formerly existed. At the Cape of Good Hope Leguat observed, in the year 1720, three kinds. (3/61. Leguat's Voyage quoted by Vasey in his 'Delineations of the Ox-tribe' page 132.) At the present day various travellers have noticed the differences in the breeds in Southern Africa. Sir Andrew Smith several years ago remarked to me that the cattle possessed by the different tribes of Caffres, though living near each other under the same latitude and in the same kind of country, yet differed, and he expressed much surprise at the fact. Mr. Andersson has described (3/62. 'Travels in South Africa' pages 317, 336.) 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 the case with the cattle of Benguela. The Namaqua cattle in size and shape nearly resemble European cattle, and have short stout horns and large hoofs. The Damara cattle are very peculiar, being big-boned, with slender legs, and small hard feet; their tails are adorned with a tuft of long bushy hair nearly touching the ground, and their horns are extraordinarily large. The Bechuana cattle have even larger horns, and there is now a skull in London with the two horns 8 ft. 8 1/4 in. long, as measured in a straight line from tip to tip, and no less than 13 ft. 5 in. as measured along their curvature! Mr. Andersson in his letter to me says that, though he will not venture to describe the differences between the breeds belonging to the many different sub-tribes, yet such certainly exist, as shown by the wonderful facility with which the natives 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, Roulin (3/63. 'Mem. de 1'Institut present. par divers Savans' tome 6 1835 page 333. For Brazil see 'Comptes Rendus' June 15, 1846. See Azara 'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 pages 359, 361.) describes two peculiar breeds, namely, pelones, with extremely thin and fine hair, and calongos, absolutely naked. According to Castelnau there are two races in Brazil, one like European cattle, the other different, with remarkable horns. In Paraguay, Azara describes a breed which certainly originated in S. America, called chivos, "because they have straight 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 Paraguay.

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 other dogs, or as improved pigs, according to H. von Nathusius, do to common pigs. (3/64. '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.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V1 Page 57

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book