Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/534

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Part II.
The Descent of Man.

The males of some few quadrupeds possess organs or parts developed solely as a means of defence against the attacks of other males. Some kinds of deer use, as we have seen, the upper branches of their horns chiefly or exclusively for defending themselves; and the Oryx antelope, as I am informed by Mr. Bartlett, fences most skilfully with his long, gently curved horns; but these are likewise used as organs of offence. The same observer remarks that rhinoceroses in fighting, parry each other's sidelong blows with their horns, which clatter loudly together, as do the tusks of boars. Although wild boars fight desperately, they seldom, according to Brehm, receive fatal wounds, as the blows fall on each other's tusks, or on the layer of gristly skin covering the shoulder, called by the German Head of Common wild boar, in prime of life.
Fig. 65. Head of Common wild boar, in prime of life (from Brehm).
hunters, the shield; and here we have a part specially modified for defence. With boars in the prime of life (see fig. 65) the tusks in the lower jaw are used for fighting, but they become in old age, as Brehm states, so much curved inwards and upwards over the snout, that they can no longer be used in this way. They may, however, still serve, and even more effectively, as a means of defence. In compensation for the loss of the lower tusks as weapons of offence, those in the upper jaw, which always project a little laterally, increase in old age so much in length and curve so much upwards, that they can be used for attack. Nevertheless, an old boar is not so dangerous to man as one at the age of six or seven years.[1]

In the full-grown male Baburisa pig of Celebes (fig. 66), the lower tusks are formidable weapons, like those of the European boar in the prime of life, whilst the upper tusks are so long and have their points so much curled inwards, sometimes even touching the forehead, that they are utterly useless as weapons of attack. They more nearly resemble horns than teeth, and are so manifestly useless as teeth, that the animal was formerly supposed to rest his head by hooking them on to a branch! Their convex surfaces, however, if the head were held a little

  1. Brehm, 'Thierleben,' B. ii. s. 729-732.