Mr. Hewitt who has had such great experience in raising these hybrids says ('Poultry Book' by Mr. Tegetmeier 1866 pages 165-167) that in all, the head was destitute of wattles, comb, and ear-lappets; and all closely resembled the pheasant in the shape of the tail and general contour of the body. These hybrids were raised from hens of several breeds by a cock-pheasant; but another hybrid, described by Mr. Hewitt, was raised from a hen-pheasant, by a silver-laced Bantam cock, and this possessed a rudimental comb and wattles.), and from the hybrids which I have seen, preponderates over the domestic fowl; but the latter, as far as colour is concerned, has considerable power of transmission, for hybrids raised from five differently coloured hens differed greatly in plumage. I formerly examined some curious hybrids in the Zoological Gardens, between the Penguin variety of the common duck and the Egyptian goose (Anser aegyptiacus); and although I will not assert that the domesticated variety preponderated over the natural species, yet it had strongly impressed its unnatural upright figure on these hybrids.
I am aware that such cases as the foregoing have been ascribed by various authors, not to one species, race, or individual being prepotent over the other in impressing its character on its crossed offspring, but to such rules as that the father influences the external characters and the mother the internal or vital organs. But the great diversity of the rules given by various authors almost proves their falseness. Dr. Prosper Lucas has fully discussed this point, and has shown (14/18. 'L'Hered. Nat.' tome 2 book 2 chapter 1.) that none of the rules (and I could add others to those quoted by him) apply to all animals. Similar rules have been announced for plants, and have been proved by Gartner (14/19. 'Bastarderzeugung' s. 264-266. Naudin 'Nouvelles Archives du Museum' tome 1 page 148 has arrived at a similar conclusion.) to be all erroneous. If we confine our view to the domesticated races of a single species, or perhaps even to the species of the same genus, some such rules may hold good; for instance, it seems that in reciprocally crossing various breeds of fowls the male generally gives colour (14/20. 'Cottage Gardener' 1856 pages 101, 137.); but conspicuous exceptions have passed under my own eyes. It seems that the ram usually gives its peculiar horns and fleece to its crossed offspring, and the bull the presence or absence of horns.
In the following chapter on Crossing I shall have occasion to show that certain characters are rarely or never blended by crossing, but are transmitted in an unmodified state from either parent-form; I refer to this fact here because it is sometimes accompanied on the one side by prepotency, which thus acquires the false appearance of unusual strength. In the same chapter I shall show that the rate at which a species or breed absorbs and obliterates another by repeated crosses, depends in chief part on prepotency in transmission.]
In conclusion, some of the cases above given,--for instance, that of the trumpeter pigeon,--prove that there is a wide difference between mere inheritance and prepotency. This latter power seems to us, in our ignorance, to act in most cases quite capriciously. The very same character, even though it be an abnormal or monstrous one, such as silky feathers, may be transmitted by different species, when crossed, either with prepotent force or singular feebleness. It is obvious, that a purely-bred form of either sex, in all cases in which prepotency does not run more strongly in one sex than the other, will transmit its character with prepotent force over a mongrelised and already variable form. (14/21. See some remarks on this head with respect to sheep by Mr. Wilson in 'Gardener's Chronicle' 1863 page 15. Many striking instances of this result are given by M. Malingie-Nouel 'Journ. R. Agricult. Soc.' volume 14 1853 page 220 with respect to crosses between English and French sheep. He found that he obtained the desired influence of the English breeds by crossing intentionally mongrelised French breeds with pure English breeds.) From several of the above-given cases we may conclude that mere antiquity of character does not by any means necessarily make it prepotent.