Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/521

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Chap. XVII.
Mammals—Law of Battle.

view that even in the same restricted genus both sexes of some species, and the males alone of others, are thus provided. It is also a remarkable fact that, although the females of Antilope bezoartica are normally destitute of horns, Mr. Blyth has seen no less than three females thus furnished; and there was no reason to suppose that they were old or diseased.

In all the wild species of goats and sheep the horns are larger in the male than in the female, and are sometimes quite absent in the latter.[1] In several domestic breeds of these two animals, the males alone are furnished with horns; and in some breeds, for instance, in the sheep of North Wales, though both sexes are properly horned, the ewes are very liable to be hornless. I have been informed by a trustworthy witness, who purposely inspected a flock of these same sheep during the lambing season, that the horns at birth are generally more fully developed in the male than the female. Mr. J. Peel crossed his Lonk sheep, both sexes of which always bear horns, with hornless Leicesters and hornless Shropshire Downs; and the result was that the male offspring had their horns considerably reduced, whilst the females were wholly destitute of them. These several facts indicate that, with sheep, the horns are a much less firmly fixed character in the females than in the males; and this leads us to look at the horns as properly of masculine origin.

With the adult musk-ox (Ovibos moschatus) the horns of the male are larger than those of the female, and in the latter the bases do not touch.[2] In regard to ordinary cattle Mr. Blyth remarks: "In most of the wild bovine animals the horns are both longer and thicker in the bull than in the cow, and in the cow-banteng (Bos sondaicus) the horns are remarkably small, and inclined much backwards. In the domestic races of cattle, both of the humped and humpless types, the horns are short and thick in the bull, longer and more slender in the cow and ox; and in the Indian buffalo, they are shorter and thicker in the bull, longer and more slender in the cow. In the wild gaour (B. gaurus) the horns are mostly both longer and thicker in the bull than in the cow."[3] Dr. Forsyth Major also informs me that a fossil skull, believed to be that of the female Bos etruscus, has been found in the Val d'Arno, which is wholly without horns. In the Rhinoceros simus, as I may add, the horns of the female are generally longer but less powerful than in the male; and in some other species of rhinoceros they

  1. Gray, 'Catalogue Mamm. Brit, Mus.' part iii. 1852, p. 160.
  2. Richardson, 'Fauna Bor. Americana,' p. 278.
  3. 'Land and Water,' 1867, p. 346.