Those which have existed from time immemorial at Chartley, closely resemble the cattle at Chillingham, but are larger, "with some small difference in the colour of the ears." "They frequently tend to become entirely black; and a singular superstition prevails in the vicinity that, when a black calf is born, some calamity impends over the noble house of Ferrers. All the black calves are destroyed." The cattle at Burton Constable in Yorkshire, now extinct, had ears, muzzle, and the tip of the tail black. Those at Gisburne, also in Yorkshire, are said by Bewick to have been sometimes without dark muzzles, with the inside alone of the ears brown; and they are elsewhere said to have been low in stature and hornless. (3/51. I am much indebted to the present Earl of Tankerville for information about his wild cattle; and for the skull which was sent to Prof. Rutimeyer. The fullest account of the Chillingham cattle is given by Mr. Hindmarsh, together with a letter by the late Lord Tankerville, in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.' volume 2 1839 page 274. See Bewick 'Quadrupeds' 2nd edition 1791 page 35 note. With respect to those of the Duke of Queensberry see Pennant 'Tour in Scotland' page 109. For those of Chartley, see Low 'Domesticated Animals of Britain' 1845 page 238. For those of Gisburne see Bewick 'Quadrupeds' and 'Encyclop. of Rural Sports' page 101.)
The several above-specified differences in the park-cattle, slight though they be, are worth recording, as they show that animals living nearly in a state of nature, and exposed to nearly uniform conditions, if not allowed to roam freely and to cross with other herds, do not keep as uniform as truly wild animals. For the preservation of a uniform character, even within the same park, a certain degree of selection--that is, the destruction of the dark-coloured calves--is apparently necessary.
Boyd Dawkins believes that the park-cattle are descended from anciently domesticated, and not truly wild animals; and from the occasional appearance of dark-coloured calves, it is improbable that the aboriginal Bos primigenius was white. It is curious what a strong, though not invariable, tendency there is in wild or escaped cattle to become white with coloured ears, under widely different conditions of life. If the old writers Boethius and Leslie (3/52. Boethius was born in 1470; 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.' volume 2 1839 page 281; and volume 4 1849 page 424.) can be trusted, the wild cattle of Scotland were white and furnished with a great mane; but the colour of their ears is not mentioned. In Wales (3/53. 'Youatt on Cattle' 1834 page 48: See also page 242, on shorthorn cattle. Bell in his 'British Quadrupeds' page 423 states that, after long attending to the subject, he has found that white cattle invariably have coloured ears.), during the tenth century, some of the cattle are described as being white with red ears. Four hundred cattle thus coloured were sent to King John; and an early record speaks of a hundred cattle with red ears having been demanded as a compensation for some offence, but, if the cattle were of a dark or black colour, 150 were to be presented. The black cattle of North Wales apparently belong, as we have seen, to the small longifrons type: and as the alternative was offered of either 150 dark cattle, or 100 white cattle with red ears, we may presume that the latter were the larger beasts, and probably belonged to the primigenius type. Youatt has remarked that at the present day, whenever cattle of the shorthorn breed are white, the extremities of their ears are more or less tinged with red.
The cattle which have run wild on the Pampas, in Texas, and in two parts of Africa, have become of a nearly uniform dark brownish-red. (3/54. Azara 'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 page 361. Azara quotes Buffon for the feral cattle of Africa. For Texas see 'Times' February 18, 1846.) On the Ladrone Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, immense herds of cattle, which were wild in the year 1741, are described as "milk-white, except their ears, which are generally black." (3/55.