Now a hybrid, raised at Knowsley (13/38. Figured in the 'Gleanings from the Knowsley Menageries' by Dr. J.E. Gray.) from a female of this species by a male domestic ass, had all four legs transversely and conspicuously striped, had three short stripes on each shoulder and had even some zebra-like stripes on its face! Dr. Gray informs me that he has seen a second hybrid of the same parentage, similarly striped.

From these facts we see that the crossing of the several equine species tends in a marked manner to cause stripes to appear on various parts of the body, especially on the legs. As we do not know whether the parent-form of the genus was striped, the appearance of the stripes can only hypothetically be attributed to reversion. But most persons, after considering the many undoubted cases of variously coloured marks reappearing by reversion in my experiments on crossed pigeons and fowls, will come to the same conclusion with respect to the horse-genus; and if so, we must admit that the progenitor of the group was striped on the legs, shoulders, face, and probably over the whole body, like a zebra.

Lastly, Professor Jaeger has given (13/39. 'Darwin'sche Theorie und ihre Stellung zu Moral und Religion' page 85.) a good case with pigs. He crossed the Japanese or masked breed with the common German breed, and the offspring were intermediate in character. He then re-crossed one of these mongrels with the pure Japanese, and in the litter thus produced one of the young resembled in all its characters a wild pig; it had a long snout and upright ears, and was striped on the back. It should be borne in mind that the young of the Japanese breed are not striped, and that they have a short muzzle and ears remarkably dependent.]

A similar tendency to the recovery of long lost characters holds good even with the instincts of crossed animals. There are some breeds of fowls which are called "everlasting layers," because they have lost the instinct of incubation; and so rare is it for them to incubate that I have seen notices published in works on poultry, when hens of such breeds have taken to sit. (13/40. Cases of both Spanish and Polish hens sitting are given in the 'Poultry Chronicle' 1855 volume 3 page 477.) Yet the aboriginal species was of course a good incubator; and with birds in a state of nature hardly any instinct is so strong as this. Now, so many cases have been recorded of the crossed offspring from two races, neither of which are incubators, becoming first-rate sitters, that the reappearance of this instinct must be attributed to reversion from crossing. One author goes so far as to say, "that a cross between two non-sitting varieties almost invariably produces a mongrel that becomes broody, and sits with remarkable steadiness." (13/41. 'The Poultry Book' by Mr. Tegetmeier 1866 pages 119, 163. The author, who remarks on the two negatives ('Journ. of Hort.' 1862 page 325), states that two broods were raised from a Spanish cock and Silver-pencilled Hamburgh hen, neither of which are incubators, and no less than seven out of eight hens in these two broods "showed a perfect obstinacy in sitting." The Rev. E.S. Dixon ('Ornamental Poultry' 1848 page 200) says that chickens reared from a cross between Golden and Black Polish fowls, are "good and steady birds to sit." Mr. B.P. Brent informs me that he raised some good sitting hens by crossing Pencilled Hamburgh and Polish breeds. A cross-bred bird from a Spanish non-incubating cock and Cochin incubating hen is mentioned in the 'Poultry Chronicle' volume 3 page 13, as an "exemplary mother." On the other hand, an exceptional case is given in the 'Cottage Gardener' 1860 page 388 of a hen raised from a Spanish cock and black Polish hen which did not incubate.) Another author, after giving a striking example, remarks that the fact can be explained only on the principle that "two negatives make a positive." It cannot, however, be maintained that hens produced from a cross between two non-sitting breeds invariably recover their lost instinct, any more than that crossed fowls or pigeons invariably recover the red or blue plumage of their prototypes.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V2 Page 17

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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