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01 - Variations Under Domestication 01-06 - Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species 10 In attempting to estimate the amount of structural differencebetween allied domestic races, we are soon involved in doubt, from not knowing whether they are descended from one or several parent species.

This point, if it could be cleared up, would be interesting; if, for instance, it could be shown that the greyhound, bloodhound, terrier, spaniel, and bull-dog, which we all know propagate their kind truly, were the offspring of any single species, then such facts would have great weight in making us doubt about the immutability of the many closely allied natural species-

greyhound
greyhound

bloodhound
bloodhound

terrier
terrier

spaniel
spaniel

bulldog
bulldog


for instance, of the many foxes- inhabiting different quarters of the world. I do not believe, as we shall presently see, that the whole amount of difference between the several breeds of the dog has been produced under domestication;

fox
fox


I believe that a small part of the difference is due to their being descended from distinct species.

In the case of strongly marked races of some other domesticated species, there is presumptive or even strong evidence, that all are descended from a single wild stock.
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.