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OriginOfSpecies - 475 Rows
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id int(11) 475 Column Stats
subject varchar(80) 14 Column Stats
title varchar(250) 139 Column Stats
ordinal int(11) 30 Column Stats
description text 474 Column Stats

475 rows, page 6 of 119 (4/p)
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01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-12 - Circumstances favourable to Man's Power of Selection 10 I will now say a few words on the circumstances, favourable, or the reverse, to man's power of selection.

A high degree of variability is obviously favourable, as freely giving the materials for selection to work on; not that mere individual differences are not amply sufficient, with extreme care, to allow of the accumulation of a large amount of modification in almost any desired direction.

But as variations manifestly useful or pleasing to man appear only occasionally, the chance of their appearance will be much increased by a large number of individuals being kept Hence, number is of the highest importance for success.

On this principle Marshall formerly remarked, with respect to the sheep of parts of Yorkshire, "as they generally belong to poor people, and are mostly in small lots, they never can be improved." On the other hand, nurserymen, from keeping large stocks of the same plant, are generally far more successful than amateurs in raising new and valuable varieties.

sheep
sheep

seedling
seedling


A large number of individuals of an animal or plant can be reared only where the conditions for its propagation are favourable. When the individuals are scanty, all will be allowed to breed, whatever their quality may be, and this will effectually prevent selection.

But probably the most important element is that the animal or plant should be so highly valued by man, that the closest attention is paid to even the slightest deviations in its qualities or structure.

Unless such attention be paid nothing can be effected.

I have seen it gravely remarked, that it was most fortunate that the strawberry began to vary just when gardeners began to attend to this plant.

strawberry
strawberry


No doubt the strawberry had always varied since it was cultivated, but the slightest varieties had been neglected.

As soon, however, as gardeners picked out individual plants with slightly larger, earlier, or better fruit, and raised seedlings from them, and again picked out the best seedlings and bred from them, then (with some aid by crossing distinct species) those many admirable varieties of the strawberry were raised which have appeared during the last half-century.
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-12 - Circumstances favourable to Man's Power of Selection 20 With animals, facility in preventing crosses is an important element in the formation of new races,- at least, in a country which is already stocked with other races.

In this respect enclosure of the land plays a part. Wandering savages or the inhabitants of open plains rarely possess more than one breed of the same species.

Pigeons can be mated for life, and this is a great convenience to the fancier, for thus many races may be improved and kept true, though mingled in the same aviary; and this circumstance must have largely favoured the formation of new breeds.

Pigeons, I may add, can be propagated in great numbers and at a very quick rate, and inferior birds may be freely rejected, as when killed they serve for food.

pigeon
pigeon

aviary
aviary


On the other hand, cats from their nocturnal rambling habits
cannot be easily matched, and, although so much valued by women and children, we rarely see a distinct breed long kept up; such breeds as we do sometimes see are almost always imported from some other country.

Although I do not doubt that some domestic animals vary less than others, yet the rarity or absence of distinct breeds of the cat, the donkey, peacock, goose, &c., may be attributed in main part to selection not having been brought into play: in cats, from the difficulty in pairing them; in donkeys, from only a few being kept by poor people, and little attention paid to their breeding; for recently in
certain parts of Spain and of the United States this animal has been surprisingly modified and improved by careful selection: in peacocks, from not being very easily reared and a large stock not kept: in geese, from being valuable only for two purposes, food and feathers, and more especially from no pleasure having been felt in the display of distinct breeds.

cat
cat

donkey
donkey

peacock
peacock

goose
goose
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-06 - Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species 20 It has often been assumed that man has chosen for domestication animals and plants having an extraordinary inherent tendency to vary, and likewise to withstand diverse climates.

I do not dispute that these capacities have added largely to the value of most of our domesticated productions: but how could a savage possibly know, when he first tamed an animal, whether it would vary in succeeding generations, and whether it would endure other climates?

Has the little variability of the ass and goose, or the small power of endurance of warmth by the reindeer, or of cold by the common camel, prevented their domestication?

donkey (ass)
donkey (ass)

reindeer
reindeer

goose
goose

camel
camel

Snow Goose
Snow Goose

Snow Goose
Snow Goose


I cannot doubt that if other animals and plants, equal in number to our domesticated productions, and belonging to equally diverse classes and countries, were taken from a state of nature, and could be made to breed for an equal number of generations under domestication, they would on an average vary as largely as the parent species of our existing domesticated productions have varied.
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-07 - Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species 10 In the case of most of our anciently domesticated animals and plants, it is not possible to come to any definite conclusion, whether they are descended from one or several wild species.

The argument mainly relied on by those who believe in the multiple origin of our domestic animals is, that we find in the most ancient times, on the monuments of Egypt, and in the lake-habitations of Switzerland, much diversity in the breeds;

Egypt
Egypt

Switzerland
Switzerland



and that some of these ancient breeds closely resemble, or are even identical with, those still existing.

But this only throws far backwards the history of civilisation, and shows that animals were domesticated at a much earlier period than has hitherto been supposed.