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Export to Excel select * from OriginOfSpecies where ordinal = '40' order by subject desc limit 36, 4 (Page 10: Row)
subject Desending Order (top row is last)
title
ordinal
description
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-11 - Unknown Origin of our Domestic Productions 40 Nor let it be thought that some great deviation of structure would be necessary to catch the fancier's eye: he perceives extremely small differences, and it is in human nature to value any novelty, however slight, in one's own possession.

Nor must the value which would formerly have been set on any slight differences in the individuals of the same species be judged of by the value which is now set on them, after several breeds have fairly been established.

I is known that with pigeons many slight variations now occasionally appear, but these are rejected as faults or deviations from the standard of perfection in each breed.

The common goose has not given rise to any marked varieties; hence the Toulouse and the common breed, which differ only in colour, that most fleeting of characters,have lately been exhibited as distinct at our poultry shows.

goose
goose

Toulouse Goose
Toulouse Goose
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-10 - Methodical and Unconscious Selection 40 If there exist savages so barbarous as never to think of the inherited character of the offspring of their domestic animals, yet any one animal particularly useful to them, for any special purpose, would be carefully preserved during famines and other accidents, to which savages are so liable, and such choice animals would thus generally leave more offspring than the inferior ones; so that in this case there would be a kind of unconscious selection going on.

We see the value set on animals even by the barbarians of Tierra del Fuego, by their killing and devouring their old women, in times of dearth, as of less value than their dogs.

Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego

cannibalism
cannibalism

woman
woman

dog
dog

Tierra del Fuego
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-09 - Principles of Selection anciently followed, and their Effects 40 The same principles are followed by horticulturists; but the variations are here often more abrupt.

No one supposes that our choicest productions have been produced by a single variation from the aboriginal stock.

We have proofs that this has not been so in several cases in which exact records have been kept; thus, to give a very trifling instance, the steadily-increasing size of the common gooseberry may be quoted.

gooseberry
gooseberry


We see an astonishing improvement in many florists' flowers, when the flowers of the present day are compared with drawings made only twenty or thirty years ago.

When a race of plants is once pretty well established, the seed-raisers do not pick out the best plants, but merely go over their seed-beds, and pull up the "rogues," as they call the plants that deviate from the proper standard.

With animals this kind of selection is, in fact, likewise followed; for hardly any one is so careless as to breed from his worst animals.
01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-08 - Breeds of the Domestic Pigeons, their Differences and Origin 40 Great as are the differences between the breeds of the pigeon, I am fully convinced that the common opinion of naturalists is correct, namely, that all are descended from the rock-pigeon (Columba livia), including under this term several geographical races or sub-species, which differ from each other in the most trifling respects.
Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon


As several of the reasons which have led me to this belief are in some degree applicable in other cases, I will here briefly give them. If the several breeds are not varieties, and have not proceeded from the rock-pigeon, they must have descended from at least seven or eight aboriginal stocks; for it is impossible to make the present domestic breeds by the crossing of any lesser number: how, for instance, could a pouter be produced by crossing two breeds unless one of the parent-stocks possessed the characteristic enormous crop?
Pouter Pigeon
Pouter Pigeon


The supposed aboriginal stocks must all have been rock-pigeons, that is, they did not breed or willingly perch on trees.

But besides C. livia, with its geographical sub-species, only two or three other species of rock-pigeons are known; and these have not any of the characters of the domestic breeds.

Hence the supposed aboriginal stocks must either still exist in the countries where they were originally domesticated, and yet be unknown to ornithologists; and this, considering their size, habits, and remarkable characters, seems improbable; or they must have become extinct in the wild state.

But birds breeding on precipices, and good fliers, are unlikely to be exterminated; and the common rock-pigeon, which has the same habits with the domestic breeds, has not been exterminated even on several of the smaller British islets, or on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean
Mediterranean


Hence the supposed extermination of so many species having similar habits with the rock-pigeon seems a very rash assumption.

Moreover, the several above-named domesticated breeds have been transported to all parts of the world, and, therefore, some of them must have been carried back again into their native country; but not one has become wild or feral, though the dovecot-pigeon, which is the rock-pigeon in very slightly altered state, has become feral in several places.

Again, all recent experience shows that it is difficult to get wild animals to breed freely under domestication, yet on the hypothesis of the multiple origin of our pigeons, it must be assumed that at least seven or eight species were so thoroughly domesticated in ancient times by half-civilised man, as to be quite prolific under confinement.

An argument of great weight, and applicable in several other cases, is, that the above-specified breeds, though agreeing generally with the wild rock-pigeon in constitution, habits, voice, colouring, and in most parts of their structure, yet are certainly highly abnormal in other parts; we may look in vain through the whole great family of Columbidae for a beak like that of the English carrier, or that of the short-faced tumbler, or barb; for reversed feathers like those of the Jacobin; for a crop like that of the pouter; for tail-feathers like those of the fantail.
Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon

English Carrier Pigeon
English Carrier Pigeon

Short Faced Tumbler Pigeon
Short Faced Tumbler Pigeon

Barb Pigeon
Barb Pigeon

Jacobin Pigeon
Jacobin Pigeon

Pouter Pigeon
Pouter Pigeon

Fantail Pigeon
Fantail Pigeon


Hence it must be assumed not only that half-civilised man succeeded in thoroughly domesticating several species, but that he intentionally or by chance picked out extraordinarily abnormal species; and further, that these very species have since all become extinct or unknown.

So many strange contingencies are improbable in the highest degree.