With the increased size of the body the third cervical has assumed characters proper to the fourth cervical vertebra; and the eighth and ninth dorsal vertebrae have similarly assumed characters proper to the tenth and posterior vertebrae. The skull in the larger breeds has increased in length, but not in due proportion with the increased length of body; the brain has not duly increased in dimensions, or has even actually decreased, and consequently the bony case for the brain has remained narrow, and by correlation has affected the bones of the face and the entire length of the skull. The skull has thus acquired its characteristic narrowness. From unknown causes the supra-orbital process of the frontal bones and the free end of the malar bones have increased in breadth; and in the larger breeds the occipital foramen is generally much less deeply notched than in wild rabbits. Certain parts of the scapula and the terminal sternal bones have become highly variable in shape. The ears have been increased enormously in length and breadth through continued selection; their weight, conjoined probably with the disuse of their muscles, has caused them to lop downwards; and this has affected the position and form of the bony auditory meatus; and this again, by correlation, the position in a slight degree of almost every bone in the upper part of the skull, and even the position of the condyles of the lower jaw.
ENUMERATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL BREEDS. INDIVIDUAL VARIABILITY. VARIATIONS OF A REMARKABLE NATURE. OSTEOLOGICAL CHARACTERS: SKULL, LOWER JAW, NUMBER OF VERTEBRAE. CORRELATION OF GROWTH: TONGUE WITH BEAK; EYELIDS AND NOSTRILS WITH WATTLED SKIN. NUMBER OF WING-FEATHERS, AND LENGTH OF WING. COLOUR AND DOWN. WEBBED AND FEATHERED FEET. ON THE EFFECTS OF DISUSE. LENGTH OF FEET IN CORRELATION WITH LENGTH OF BEAK. LENGTH OF STERNUM, SCAPULA, AND FURCULUM. LENGTH OF WINGS. SUMMARY ON THE POINTS OF DIFFERENCE IN THE SEVERAL BREEDS.
I have been led to study domestic pigeons with particular care, because the evidence that all the domestic races are descended from one known source is far clearer than with any other anciently domesticated animal. Secondly, because many treatises in several languages, some of them old, have been written on the pigeon, so that we are enabled to trace the history of several breeds. And lastly, because, from causes which we can partly understand, the amount of variation has been extraordinarily great. The details will often be tediously minute; but no one who really wants to understand the progress of change in domestic animals, and especially no one who has kept pigeons and has marked the great difference between the breeds and the trueness with which most of them propagate their kind, will doubt that this minuteness is worth while. Notwithstanding the clear evidence that all the breeds are the descendants of a single species, I could not persuade myself until some years had passed that the whole amount of difference between them, had arisen since man first domesticated the wild rock-pigeon.
I have kept alive all the most distinct breeds, which I could procure in England or from the Continent; and have prepared skeletons of all. I have received skins from Persia, and a large number from India and other quarters of the world. (5/1. The Hon. C. Murray has sent me some very valuable specimens from Persia; and H.M. Consul, Mr. Keith Abbott, has given me information on the pigeons of the same country. I am deeply indebted to Sir Walter Elliot for an immense collection of skins from Madras, with much information regarding them. Mr. Blyth has freely communicated to me his stores of knowledge on this and all other related subjects. The Rajah Sir James Brooke sent me specimens from Borneo, as has H.M. Consul, Mr. Swinhoe, from Amoy in China, and Dr. Daniell from the west coast of Africa.) Since my admission into two of the London pigeon-clubs, I have received the kindest assistance from many of the most eminent amateurs.