John Bachman.

Continuation of the review of Nott and Gliddon's types of mankind., Issue 11 online

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ing a. different symbolic value. I do not pretend to have any evidence
of hybrid crosses between these animals ; but these and other fiicts
show us that we may yet have to modify some of our zoological impres-
sions from a study of the catacombs and monuments of Egypt.*

Since Dr. Bachman is not satisfied with the proofe I gave with re-
spect to the intermixture of the wild cat of Europe and the domestic
variety, I may insert tbe following confirmation from Buffon ; *' The
wild cat couples with the domestic kind, and, consequently, they belong
to the same species. It is not uncommon to see both males and fe-
males quit their houses, in the season of love, go to the woods in quest
of wild cats, and afterwards return to their former habitations. It is
for this sacnthat some domestic cats so perfectly resemble the wild
cat. The latter, however, is larger and stronger, his lips are always
black, his ears are stiffer, his tail larger, and his colours more constant." f
And these facts are all corroborated by the learned editors of the new
Faune Francaise,

Musteline Hybrids,

"The Mustela furo^^ says Dr. Bachman, "is the albino ferret of the

* The FeliB chaus is now spread from Nubia and Egypt to India, thus ex-
tending itself into Asia as the F. manietUata has in Europe. '* It is possible/'
observes Schinss, "that the domestic cat has had several origins, because it
gives rise to several constant varieties." — Synopsis Mammalium, /, p. 458.
Nor have I a doubt that this will be the established result of further inves-

f Quadrupeds, English edition,^oL 10, p. 408.

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M. putorius. This is admitted by all recent naturalitfis, and is, there-
fore, no more of a diflferent species than Voltaire's albino man." *

Let us see how far this statement is correct. Mr. Bell, who is al-
ways and justly quoted with great confidence by Dr. Bachman, expresses
himself in the following manner. After mentioning several instances
in which the two species of Mustela have produced together, Mr. Bell
adds that Buffon's figure " is probably an animal of this mixed breed.
Allowing, as there appears to be no reason - to doubt, that the Ferret
{M.furo) bred with the Fitchet, (M, putorius,) it proves nothing fur-
ther than the mere fact, and is no more a proof that they are varieties
of the same species than in the case of the lion and the tiger, or of the
wolf or the dog, which are well known frequently to interbreed. Of the
assertion that breeders of ferrets have recourse to the polecat to im-
prove the breed, I can obtain no authentic information ; and there are
sufficient distinctive characters and circumstances appertaining to them
to warrant us in considering them as differing specifically." f

Pennant, who fifty years ago, expresses similar views, states that the
albino animal (which is brought from Africa) depreciates in Europe and
requires a cross with the allied species. J

Schinz, Milne Edwards, Jenyns and Brown all agree with Mr. Bell
in regarding them as two species. Fleming, however, in his British
Animals, considers them one, and adds that the ferrets. *^ breed freely
with the dark individuals ;" and I presume that Brown alludes to these
hybrids when he describes some varieties as of a " black, white and
fewn colour."§

So much for " all recent naturalists." With respect to the feline
and musteline hybrids of my Essay, I am content to let them remain
where they are until their authenticity is fairly disproved.

Camelline Hybrids,
" Some of the naturalists," says Dr. Bachman, " consider them [the

* This learned divine has twice quoted Voltaire in connection with my name
not to say invidiously. My answer is this: that Dr. Bachman has taught
me all I know of the French philosopher's opinions respecting the origin of
the human race ; for I have no recollection of having ever read a line of his
on the subject. If Voltaire happens to be on my side of the question, Volney
is cm Dr. Bachman's ; so that, in this respect, at least, we are equal.

f British Quadrupeds, d. 162.

t Synopsis of Quadrupeds, p. 216.

% Zoologists' Text Book, p. 11.

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camels] two species, and Hamilton Smith is doubtful whether they
breed together. Buflfon considered them as only one species, and

Who the naturalists are who regard them as one species, (excepting
Buflfon,) I cannot discover. The latter supposed them to be a single
species, because of this very fertility, which he admits without reserva-
tion and explains in detail. But Linnseus, Cuvier, Fischer, Ranzani,
H. Smith, Lesson, Dumeril, Desmarest, Quatrefages, Bory, Fleming, and
every naturalist whom I have been able to consult, except Buflfon alone,
describes them as of two distinct species ; and with respect to their
fertility, Buflfon gives what I consider unquestionable testimony.

Here, again, the monuments come to our aid. If any one will look
over the splendid plates of LayarcVs Nineveh^ he will there find the
camel and the dromedary as admirably figured as if done by Land-
seer but yesterday ;* and these remains of ancient art date, in the opin-
ion of Mr. Layard, 2,600 years before our era. But since Dr. Bachman
calls upon us to wait " ^\q years" longer, to see them " decided as con-
stituting only one species," let us have patience, and see whether these
^VQ years will overturn the expenence of perhaps forty centuries.
Meanwhile, I shall regard the camels as two species, fertile inter se, and
this mixed progeny as constituting a great intermediate race.

Bovine Hybrids,

Dr. Bachman, on this head, has the following paragraph :

" Cuvier, and all our naturalists of authority^ refer all the domesti-
cated cattle of Europe and America to be one species. Bos taurus.
The ancient B, urus is a fossil species."

On the other hand, let us hear what Prof. Owen says :

"My esteemed friend, Prof. Bell, who has written the History of
existing British Quadrupeds, is disposed to believe, with Cuvier, and
most other naturalists^ that our domestic cattle are the degenerate de-
scendants of the great Urus, Bui. it seems to me more probable that
the herds of the newly conquered regions would be derived from the
already domesticated cattle of the Roman colonists, of those Boves nos-
tril for example, by comparison with which, Caesar endeavoured to con-
vey to his countrymen* an idea of the stupendous and formidable Uri of
the Hyrcinian forests.* f

* The C. bactrianua on the Ninevite obelisk, plate 6S and 56, and the C, drome*
dariua on plate 61.

I British Fossil Mammalia, p. 600.

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Let us concede the patriarcbal palm to the Bo9 taunts ; but what
and where is this venerable type ? Milne Edwards supposes him to be
an ancient wild species, (not the auroch) which has not been seen in its
native state since the 16 th century.

With respect to the Bos frontalis of Lambert, or ffayal^* Dr. Bach-
man remarks :

" I have possessed very favourable opportunities of comparing it in
a living state. I have concluded that it is no other than one of the nu*
merous varieties of our common species ; and you will perceive that
Cuvier's views scarcely differed from mine."

They differed in this, that Cuvier suspected the gayal for a hybrid
between the Indian buffalo {Bos bubalus) and the common herd of

Roulin, in his monograph of the genus Bos, in D'Orbigny's new
Dictionary of Natural History, enumerates twelve species ; and among
others, iegards the Bos gaurus, B. hantang and B, gayal, as distinct
species ; " and from the marks which he gives of their skulls, thiij
seems to be indeed the case.''t

With respect to the degree of productiveness between this animal
and the ordinary breed, I can obtain no positive information. I quoted
Cuvier's suspicion that it is a mixture of that race with the Indian buf-
falo. Now, I concede that the gayal is a distinct species, and not a
cross ; but that a cross does yet exist in upper India, is by no means
improbable. From the Bos gavoeus, (or gayal) says M. Roulin, the
Hindoos have a domesticated race, they call Gohah-gayal, Some of
these animals have again become wild, and with them in the same
forests is seen " the Jungly-gau of F. Cuvier, which, as Hardwicke had
remarked, is very distinct from the Gohah-gayal, and may be the result
of a cross with the common cattle." J Here I will let this mooted ques-
tion rest, in the hope of obtaining further light from Mr. Blyth, who, if
I mistake not, is now pursuing his scientific researches in India.§

My friend. Dr. Huffnagel, also, now in India, has obtained the first
cross between the buffalo of that region and the common breed of cat-
tle, and has promised to make full inquiries on my behalf. Meanwhile,
Buffon quotes M. de la Nux for the fact, that these two animals breed

♦ Bo8 gavceuB of most systematic writers

f Report of the Progress of Zoology and Botany, p. 66, London, 1844.

\ D'Orbigny's Dict^ loco citat.

§ Hodgson has made anew genus, Bihos^ of the Bos frontalis, which he decides
to be intermediate between the Bos and the Bison. — Joum. Asiatic Soc. of Ben-
gal, vi., p. 746.


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freelj in the Isle of Bourbon, where they have produced an interminably
mixed race.*


Caprine Hybrids.

Mr. Hodgson remarks of his new species of goat, Caprajharal^ of
Nepaul, that it breeds with the domestic goat ; and adds, that it more
closely resembles the ordinary model of the tame race, than any wild
species yet discovered.! Dr. Bachman may be disposed to insist, for
the latter reason, that the C, jharal is not a distinct species ; but he
will find it " endorsed" as such in all the late systems of mammalogy,
(at least, I find no exception) and by the Proceedings of the Zoological
Society of London, J and the Annales des Sciences Naturelles,§ (Paris.)

Mr. Bell observes, that " the large goats which are reported to have
been brought from the Alps and Pyrenees to the Garden of Plants, in
Paris, were probably the progeny of the ibex {Capra ibex) with the
common goat, ((7. (xgagrus) as there is no proof of the existence of the
true oegagrus in Europe."! ^^^ ^^^ corresponds with the brief obser-
vation of Fischer — Capra ibex miscetur capris,^

Caprine and Ovine Hybrids,

Dr. Bachman, after stating that he has " no access to Chevreul," (the
much-abused authority for my facts in this grade of hybridity) goes on
to assert that ^' we have not one authenticated case of a fertile hybrid
produced by the sheep and goat."

It occurred to me to look into Molina, the celebrated author of the
Natural History of Chili, in order to ascertain whether any reference

* BuffoD, Quad., xxy., p. 14.

f Joiim. of the Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, 1886, p. 492.
X Part 2, for 1884, p. 107. § 2d Seiies, 1886.

n British Quadrupeds, p. 488. I have admitted the probahiUty of the Capra
cegagruB heing the source of our domestic goat ; but I may here again remind Dr.
Bachman, that " all the authors" which he has consulted, give only his side of the
question. ** The opinions of naturalists," says Mr. Bell, " have been much divided
respecting the original stock of the domestic goat ; some referring it to the ibezt
others to cegagrus ; but most modem zoologists have leaned to the belief ^ that the
wild goat of Caucasus and Persia is thd true original stock." — British Quad., p.

^ Synop. Mammalium.

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was there made to the facts of Chevreul ; and it was with great plea-
sure that I found the following passage :

" The Pehuenches, a nation inhabiting these mountains, [the Chilian
Andes] have crossed the sheep with goats ; and this intermediate race
is much larger than the other sheep. Their wool is less curled, is soft
and fine, and often two feet in length, resembling the fleece of the An-
gora goat."*

After the lapse of about eighty years, during all which time this
mixed race has probably flourished in Chili, Chevreul publishes the
detailed method by which these hybrids are yet obtained and propa-
gated. Persons who entertain any fiirther^doubts on this subject are wel-
come to them. I have none.

Ovine Hybrids.

Dr. Bachman asserts that " the Ovis musmon is the only species that
has ever submitted to domestication, and no fertile progeny has been
produced with the argali, or any other,"

Inasmuch as Mr. Blyth appears to have paid more attention to the
Ovidce, than any other living naturalist, and moreover, as he is quoted
with respect by Dr. Bachman, I cheerfully submit the present question
to his decision.

Among fifteen species of sheep, he makes the following remarks in
reference to the Ovis aries, sl collective, specific name for the common
breeds :

** Assuming that different species have commingled to produce this
animal, us appears to he very evident in the instance of the dog^ it is still
remarkable that we have certainly not yet discovered the principal wild
type. Some experience in the deduction of the specified characters of
sheep horns, enables me to state with confidence that the normal char-
acter of the long-tailed domestic breeds is intermediate to that of the
Ra^s^ (0. Polii) and that of the moufflon (0. musmon) ; combining
the flexure and the prolongation of the former, with the section of the
latter, but becoming proportionately broader at the base than in either ;
more as in the argalis of Siberia, Kamstchatka and North America.
That 0. aries^ (the domestic sheep) is totally distinct from all, I have
been long perfectly satisfied," j[

Thus, Mr. Blyth regards the 0. musmon^'of Linnseus, the m^mfflon

* French edition, p. 812.

f Proceedings of ^e Zoolog. Soc. of London, 1846, p. 74, 16. Jenyns deriTes
all the domestic sheep from the Siberian argali, (Ovis argali)

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of Corsica aod Sardinia, as a separate species, and adds the following
remarks :

" It inter -breeds freely with anj tame race, under circumstances of re-
straint, as is well known ; but we have no information of hybrids^, or
umbri, as they are called, being ever raised from wild moufflons, though
the flocks of the latter sometimes graze in the same p^isture with domes-
tic sheep."

Now, here the hybrid mixture is unreservedly admitted by Mr.
Blyth ; the only condition appears to be that the animals must be
** under circumstances of restraint." Here, then, is an illustration of
one of my conclusions, against which. Dr. Bachman has wasted a series
of physiological comments : — Domestication does not cause hybridity^
but merely evolves it. The idea that I designed to convey by this pro-
position is obviously this : that power of hybrid re-production .may
remain latent, until domestication, or if I may so express it, the re-
straints of domestication, bring it into action. Whence, also, another of
my conclusions, — that the capacity for fertile hybridity, coeteris paribus^
exists in animals in proportion to their aptitude for domesticity and cul-

Do not the Cyprian moufflon (0. ophion) and the 0. vignii^ which
is closely allied to the Corsican species, breed also with the domestic
animal ? It may be said that all these species designated by Mr.
Blyth, are not generally admitted by naturalists. If so, I am not
aware of the^fact. They are published and " endorsed" by the Zoolo-
gical Society of London, and are admitted into the Synopsis Mammor
Hum of Schinz, one of the latest and most accurate works of its class.

If I am not mistaken in his use of terms, BufFon regarded the large-
tailed sheep, called the Barbary breeds as a different species from the
European ;f and it really appears to be distinct from the fat-rumped
sheep. The rudiments of their peculiar organization are increased or
diminished by climate and pasture; for Pallas states, that while the uropy-
gium^ or fatty cushion of the Tartar breed, will weigh from 20 to 40
pounds, it shrinks to a diminutive size in certain parts of Siberia. We
may reasonably suppose that an organization which was obscure and
rudimentary in some primitive races, becomes developed by the various
processes of domestication and the attendant influences of climate ; and
such appears to be the case with the sheep of Africa and those of Asia.

* Essay on Hybridity, p. 23.

f Eklition Soooini. QuaiL, xidii., p. 85.

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Surine hybrids.

I quoted Hamilton Smith as favourable to the idea that our domes-
tic swine are derived from a plurality of species ; whereupon Dr. Bach-
man, with his accustomed dogmatism, makes the following assertion :

^*' All naturalists, including Hamilton Smith, have regarded all our
species as derived from the wild hog."

Whatever Hamilton Smith may have once thought or s^d on this
question, I will now quote in full his last impressions, (at least I know of
none later,) published in 1839 :

^^ It is admitted that in the forests, they (the domestic hogs,) occa-
sionally breed with the wild boar, and that their offspring is as prolific
as if it were the result of breeding from the same race. This is also
known to be the fact in the mixed produce of the Chinese and European
hog. We have had opportunities of seeing the Spanish and domestic
breed become wild in South America and Jamaica, resuming the cha-
racters of the wild boar of Europe ; even the young becoming striped,
like the marcassins of France. Yet if the observations of T. C. Eyton,
Esq., reported in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, for Feb.,
1837, are correct, the vertebrae of the back, loins and sacrum differ,
between the wild boar, the English and Chinese pigs, from 15 to 14,
from 6 to 4, and from 5 to 4 ; &o that taking the totals of vertebrae,
they run 60, 55, 49, and the French 63. Surely it is allowing too
much to the semi-domestication of such animals, and denying the same
to the plastic powers of creation, to prop up our artificial maxims in
Zoology. On the contrary, we may justly suspect this to be a case of
providential arrangement for a given purpose ; and that there are three,
if not four, original species, including the African, with powers to com-

Independently of the preceding replies to Dr. Bachman^s criticisms,
I may repeat, once for all, that in my essay on hybridity, I introduced
a number of examples of casual cross-breeds, merely as stick, and not
to sustain my " theory of fertile hybrids." Hence, the following ap-
pears among the initiatory paragraphs of my essay :

" It may, at first view, appear superfluous to go over the whole
ground of inquiry ; but apart from its ethnographic relations, it is my
wish to call attention to a branch of science that has hitherto been sin-
gularly neglected, and perhaps more so than any other.'f

Among these collateral examples, were the equine, the cervine and
ovine, bovine and cervine, and bovine and ovine hybrids among quad-
rupeds, and several among birds. For all these I have given my autho-
rities. If my republication of these supposed facts should tend to prove

♦ CanidcB, i, p. 93, 94. t Eway on Hybridity, p. 8.

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them erroneous, I conceive I shall thereby render a service to science.
This, however, is a point for further investigation.

Miscellaneous Remarks.

I must here notice an interesting fact, mentioned by Dr. Bachman,
viz: the change of the black rat, Mus rattus^ in the Southern States,
from its natural, characteristic colour to a yellow hue. Here is a change
of colour, but none of form ; and I cannot, therefore, see how it has
any bearing upon the varieties of the dog, any one of which may be of a ,
single, or of many colours, without altering its typical character. A
greyhound may be black, white or pied, and yet it is not the less a

But I have an objection to another part of Dr. Bachman s inferences ;
for in this account of the rat, he appears to suppose that the fact of there
being no intermediate varieties of colour in the same nest, all being
either white or yellow, was an evidence of their being all of one spe-
cies. This is readily admissible, as a simple fact, in this case ; but when
it is subsequently applied, somewhat in the way of a general principle,
to prove that some birds, (the Curassows for example,) are of one spe-
cies, because their offspring present a similar phenomenon of unmixed
colours, it becomes a mere analogical dogma of no possible value. I pro-
pose to recur to this question in another place ; and for the present will
merely observe, that if such a rule obtained in nature, we ought to see
the offspring of a white father and a black mother, or the reverse, always
black, or always white, without that almost invariable blending of co-
lours, which is familiar to every one.

Apropos to this subject, I find that the Norway rat has been seen in
changed colours in England, not of one colour, hut mottled or pied,
Donovan has figured one of thera.* Dr. Bachman's rule, therefore,
does not hold good even with the rats.

Dr. Bachman takes exception to my remark, that the Hyena venati-
ca connects the dog with the hyena almost without an interval. I de-
rived my first impression from Cuvier, who describes this animal as
having the dental system of the dog, and not of the hyena. Cuvier has,
morever, called it Ckien hyenoide, and it is now placed, by general con-
sent, in the genus Canis ; and Blainville calls it the great wild dog of
Afnca.f Is not this animal figured among the dogs on the monuments
of Beni Hassan ?J

♦ British Qaadrupeds, page 45. f Ostrographie, page 78.

X See Rosellini, Monumenti Civili, PI. xvii, fig. 7.

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Hyhnd of the Wood-Grousb (T, urogallus,) and the Black-
Grouse {T, tetrix,) etc, — Of this bird called Tetrao medius by some
authors, Dr. Bachman remarks as follows :

" It so happens that every writer of authority, who published since
the days of Temminck, that I have consulted, has set it down as an
undoubtedly true species, and not as a hybrid. These naturalists had
opportunities of examining these birds in their native haunts, and pos-
sessed specimens in the flesh. They were, therefore, infinitely better
4)repared to pronounce a decision than either of us would venture to do.
Temminck pronounced it a true species^

Dr. Bachman's authorities (whom he gives in detail, and they cer-
tainly are eminent ornithologists,) were very fortunately grouped in
order to give a unanimous assent to his own opinions. Let us look a
little further, and see how this matter stands.

Now it happens that Temminck, yes, Prof. Temminck himself, after
holding out for twenty-seven years* that this hybrid was a true spe-
cies, has at last admitted his error, and with the magnanimity of a great
mind, published it to the world. He shall speak for himself:

" The testimony of all the naturalists of the North is remarkably
unanimous in considering this bird {Tetrao medius,) a hybrid product
of two diflerent species, the female of the urogallus with the male of
the tetrix ; and we concede to their opinion respecting this mule bird
with the greater confidence, because Prof. Nilsson has applied himself
especially to this inquiry in the northern countries, wherein the two
parent species inhabit in great number. The observations made by
this learned naturalist, prove in the most satisfactory manner that the
Makelhan (T. medius,) is a hybrid of the two species above cited. The
opinion of M. Naumann, who has examined many examples (deponil-
les) of this hybrid, no longer leaves a doubt."f

This evidence calls for no comment ; yet it is curious to compare it
with Dr. Bachman's concluding dictum, as expressed in the following
oracular manner :

" All our recent authors have described this supposed hybrid as a
true species, and not as a hybrid !"

For my own part, I am content to adopt the opinion of those orni-
thologists " who have examined these birds in their native haunts, and
possessed specimens in the flesh." They are certainly better judges
than either Dr. Bachman or myself. Meanwhile, I shall regard this as
an example of a cross between two proximate species in the wild state,

*Piffeons et Gallinacia, 1813, and Manuel d* Ornithologies 1820.
^Temrsnncl^B Manuel cTOrnithologie, 2mee^t. Tome iy, page 818. 1840.

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producing a great hybrid race, now widely and spontaneously extend-
ed over the region of Northern Europe. Schlegel, who is justly
considered one of the most able ornithologists of the age, in his
JRivue critique des oiseaux d*Europe^* takes the same view with
Temminck ; and Degland, in his excellent Ornithologie Europ^enne^]

Online LibraryJohn BachmanContinuation of the review of Nott and Gliddon's types of mankind., Issue 11 → online text (page 4 of 26)