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But the best evidence is afforded by parts or organs of an important and uniform nature occasionally varying so as to acquire, in some degree, the character of the same part or organ in an allied species. I have collected a long list of such cases ; but here, as before, I lie under a great disadvantage in not being able to give them. I can only repeat that such cases certainly do occur, and seem to me very remarkable.
I will, however, give one curious and complex case, not indeed as affecting any important character, but from occurring in several species of the same genus, partly under domestication and partly under nature. It is a case apparently of reversion. The ass not rarely has very distinct transverse bars on its legs, like those on the legs of the zebra : it has been asserted that these are plainest in the foal, and from inquiries which I have made, I believe this to be true. It has also been asserted that the stripe on each shoulder is sometimes double. The shoulderstripe is certainly very variable in length and outline. A white ass, but not an albino, has been described without either spinal or shoulder stripe ; and these stripes are sometimes very obscure, or actually quite lost, in darkcoloured asses. The koulan of Pallas is said to have been seen with a double shoulder-stripe.
The hemionus has no shoulder-stripe ; but traces of it, as stated by Mr. Blyth and others, occasionally appear : and I have been informed by Colonel Poole that the foals of this species are generally striped on the legs, and faintly on the shoulder. The quagga, though so plainly barred like a zebra over the body, is without bars on the legs ; but Dr. Gray has figured one specimen with very distinct zebra-like bars on the hocks.
With respect to the horse, I have collected cases in England of the spinal stripe in horses of the most distinct breeds, and of all colours ; transverse bars on the legs are not rare in duns, mouse-duns, and in one instance in a chestnut: a faint shoulder-stripe may sometimes be seen in duns, and I have seen a trace in a bay horse. My son mad
reful examination and sketch for me of a dun Belgian cart-horse with a double stripe on each shoulder and with leg-stripes ; I have myself seen a dun Devonshire pony, and a small dun Welch pony has been carefully described to me, both with three parallel stripes on each shoulder.
In the north-west part of India the Kattywar breed of horses is so generally striped, that, as I hear from
Colonel Poole, who examined the breed for the Indian Government, a horse without stripes is not considered as purely-bred. The spine is always striped ; the legs are generally barred ; and the shoulder-stripe, which is sometimes double and sometimes treble, is common; the side of the face, moreover, is sometimes striped. The stripes are often plainest in the foal ; and sometimes quite disappear in old horses. Colonel Poole has seen both gray and bay Kattywar horses striped when first foaled. I have, also, reason to suspect, from information given me by Mr. W. W. Edwards, that with the English racehorse the spinal stripe is much commoner in the foal than in the full-grown animal. Without here entering on further details, I may state that I have collected cases of leg and shoulder stripes in horses of very different breeds, in various countries from Britain to Eastern China ; and from Norway in the north to the Malay Archipelago in the south. In all parts of the world these stripes occur far oftenest in duns and mouse-duns ; by the term dun a large range of colour is included, from one between brown and black to a close approach to cream colour.
I am aware that Colonel Hamilton Smith, who has written on this subject, believes that the several breeds of the horse have descended from several aboriginal species—one of which, the dun, was striped ; and that the above-described appearances are all due to ancient crosses with the dun stock. But I am not at all satisfied with this theory, and should be loth to apply it to breeds so distinct as the heavy Belgian cart-horse, Welch ponies, cobs, the lanky Kattywar race, &c., inhabiting the most distant parts of the world.
Now let us turn to the effects of crossing the several species of the horse-genus. Rollin asserts, that the common mule from the ass and the horse is particularly apt to have bars on its legs : according to Mr. Gosse, in certain parts of the United States about nine out of ten mules have striped legs. I once saw a mule with its legs so much striped that any one would at first have thought that it must have been the product of a zebra ; and Mr. W. C. Martin, in his excellent treatise on the horse, has given a figure of a similar mule. In four coloured drawings, which I have seen, of hybrids between the ass and zebra, the legs were much more plainly barred than the rest of the body ; and in one of them there was
a double shoulder-stripe. In Lord Morton's famous hybrid from a chestnut mare and male quagga, the hybrid, and even the pure offspring subsequently produced from the mare by a black Arabian sire, were much more plainly barred across the legs than is even the pure quagga. Lastly, and this is another most remarkable case, a hybrid has been figured by Dr. Gray (and he informs me that he knows of a second case) from the ass and the hemionus, and this hybrid, though the ass seldom has stripes on his legs and the hemionus has none and has not even a shoulder-stripe, nevertheless had all four legs barred, and had three short shoulder-stripes, like those on the dun Devonshire and Welch ponies, and even had some zebra-like stripes on the sides of its face. With respect to this last fact, I was so convinced that not even a stripe of colour appears from what would commonly be called an accident, that I was led solely from the occurrence of the face-stripes on this hybrid from the ass and the hemionus to ask Colonel Poole whether such face-stripes ever occur in the eminently striped Kattywar breed of horses, and was, as we have seen, answered in the affirmative. What now are we to say to these several facts ? We
several very distinct species of the horse-genus becoming, by simple variation, striped on the legs like a zebra, or striped on the shoulders like an ass, In the horse we see this tendency strong whenever a dun tint appears-a tint which approaches to that of the general colouring of the other species of the genus. The appearance of the stripes is not accompanied by any change of form or by any other new character. We see this tendency to become striped most strongly displayed in hybrids from between, several of the most distinct species. Now observe the case of the several breeds of pigeons': they are descended from a pigeon (including two or three sub-species or geographical races) of a bluish colour, with certain bars and other marks; and when any breed assumes by simple variation a bluish tint, these bars and other marks invariably reappear ; but without any other change of form or character. When the oldest and truest breeds of various colours are crossed, we see a strong tendency for the blue tint and bars and marks to reappear in the mongrels. I have stated that the most probable hypothesis to account for the reappearance of very, ancient characters, is—that there is a tendency in
the young of each successive generation to produce the long-lost character, and that this tendency, from unknown causes, sometimes prevails. And we have just seen that in several species of the horse-genus the stripes are either plainer or appear more commonly in the young than in the old. Call the breeds of pigeons, some of which have bred true for centuries, species, and how exactly parallel is the case with that of the species of the horse-genus ! For myself I venture confidently to look back thousands on thousands of generations, and I see an animal striped like a zebrà, but perhaps otherwise very differently constructed, the common parent of our domestic horse, whether or not it be descended from one or more wild stocks, of the ass, the hemionus, quagga, and zebra.
He who believes that each equine species was independently created, will, I presume, assert that each species has been created with a tendency to vary, both under nature and under domestication, in this particular manner, so as often to become striped like other species of the genus ; and that each has been created with a strong tendency when crossed with species inhabiting distant quarters of the world, to produce hybrids resembling in their stripes, not their own parents, but other species of the genus. To admit this view is, as it seems to me, to reject a real for an unreal, or at least for an unknown, cause. It makes the works of God a mere mockery and deception ; I would almost as soon believe with the old and ignorant cosmogonists, that fossil shells had never lived, but had been created in stone so as to mock the shells now living on the sea-shore.
Summary.--Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound. Not in one case out of a hundred can we pretend to assign any reason why this or that part differs, more or less, from the same part in the parents. But whenever we have the means of instituting a comparison, the same laws appear to have acted in producing the lesser differences between varieties of the same species, and the greater différences between species of the same genus. The external conditions of life, as climate and food, &c., seem to have induced some slight modifications. Habit in producing constitutional differences, and use in strengthening and disuse in weakening and diminishing organs, seem to have been more potent in their effects. Homologous parts tend to vary in the same way, and homologous
parts tend to cohere. Modifications in hard parts and in external parts sometimes affect softer and internal parts. When one part is largely developed, perhaps it tends to draw nourishment from the adjoining parts; and every part of the structure which can be saved without detriment to the individual, will be saved. Changes of structure at an early
generally affect parts subsequently developed ; and there are very many other correlations of growth, the nature of which we are utterly unable to understand. Multiple parts are variable in number and in structure, perhaps arising from such parts not having been closely specialised to any particular function, so that their modifications have not been closely checked by natural selection. It is probably from this same cause that organic beings low in the scale of nature are more variable than those which have their whole organisation more specialised, and are higher in the scale. Rudimentary organs, from being useless, will be disregarded by natural selection, and hence probably are variable. Specific characters—that is, the characters which have come to differ since the several species of the same genus branched off from a common parent—are more variable than generic characters, or those which have long been inherited, and have not differed within this same period. In these remarks we have referred to special parts or organs being still variable, because they have recently varied and thus come to differ ; but we have also seen in the second Chapter that the same principle applies to the whole individual ; for in a district where many species of any genus are found—that is, where there has been much former variation and differentiation, or where the manufactory of new specific forms has been actively at work-in that district and amongst these species, we now find, on an average, most varieties. Secondary sexual characters are highly variable, and such characters differ much in the species of the same group. Variability in the same parts of the organisation has generally been taken advantage of in giving secondary sexual differences to the sexes of the same species, and specific differences to the several species of the same genus. Any part or organ developed to an extraordinary size or in an extraordinary manner, in comparison with the same part or organ in the allied species, must have gone through an extraordinary amount of modification since the genus arose ; and thus we can understand why it should often still be variable