Page images
PDF
EPUB

it is of excellent quality. During the exhibition of cattle at Paris, in 1856, Vernois and Bequeral analyzed this milk, and found it to contain much albumen, and 8.4 per cent. of butter. In comparison with the milk of the common cow, this milk has almost the appearance of cream, and as it is exceedingly fatty, many persons cannot digest it. The buffalo is adapted to draught, and develops great strength; and not only the ox but the cow is used for this purpose. These animals are very frugal, and often eat the fodder rejected by common cattle. Buffaloes are incapable of withstanding severe cold, and during intensely hot weather they plunge into any stream or body of water to cool themselves. In the East Indies a large, wild kind of buffaloes yet exist, called Arni.

4. The American Buffalo, or the American Bison, (bos Americanus bison,) is one of the largest, wildest, and most unruly kinds of cattle, with a manelike, curly hair about the head, neck, and shoulders, similar to those of the Auer ox. The forehead is arched, the legs and tail are short, the horns short, with a hump between the shoulders. Their color is dark brown. They are found in the warmer portions of North America, formery in western Pennsylvania, but now only in the more western and sparsely settled States and Territories.

The above named kinds of cattle in their structure, so nearly resemble the common ox and Auer ox, that they might be considered as varieties of one species, especially since it is no difficult matter to obtain fruitful offspring by breeding any one of them to the other.

5. The Auer or Ure ox or European Bison, (bos urus, bonasus, bison,) is one of the largest oxen, and distinguished by a curly manelike product about the head and neck, by a very broad, arched forehead, and by moderate horns situated far apart, and being curved inward and upward in the shape of a crescent. It has no dewlap or brisket, but long pending hairs at the shin, neck, and on the withers. The color is dark brown; beard and tail tassel are blackish brown.

These celebrated animals, with which even the ancients were acquainted, Prof. Mueller, of the Iraperial Royal Veterinary School at Vienna, has lately published some very valuable observations made by him on a journey to Grodno in Russia, in order to superintend the transportation of some Ure oxen donated by the Emperor of Russia to the Veterinary schools at Vienna and Stuttgard. Some extracts from his work are here presented, because the opinion hitherto prevailing in certain circles that our common cattle were the offspring of the Ure; but according to these extracts it will be seen that several striking anatomical differences are found to exist between the Ure and our common cattle.

In the forests of Bialowesch the Ure ox attains the height of a large full

grown ox of our common race, but the forepart of the body is much stouter than the hind part. The color of the young animals is uniformly silver-gray, without any marks; but when 4 to 6 years old they become blackish, and then they are most beautiful. At a more advanced age the hair begins to turn to that of a dirty fox-colored or brown, first at the head and neck, and afterward over the whole body. The winter coat commences to grow in October, and is dense as felt, and much longer at the neck and the forepart of the breast than on the rump and belly. They have a mane five or six inches long, and instead of the brisket of the common cattle, which is entirely lacking, they have a ridge of long hairs extending from the lower lip to the lower part of the breast, forming a beard at the chin. The Ure has fourteen vertebræ, and as many pairs of ribs, or one pair more than common cattle, but has only five lumbar vertebiæ of which the common cattle have six. The ribs, the true as well as most of the false ones, are connected with their corresponding cartilages by several joints, and the spinal processes of the first eight vertebræ show a col. ossal development, being over one foot high, and thus conditioning the disproportionate height of the forepart of the animal. The number of the caudal vertebræ is less than in domesticated cattle; the shoulder blades are broader, the upper arm and fore arm bones much thicker but shorter ; the pelvis is proportionately narrower, the hide is very thick and strong. The reticulum has hexagonal cells similar to that of the domesticated cattle, they consist of two parts only, but any further subdivision is not apparent, and the cells are much shallower. The kidneys are small, and the lobes are not as strong as in domesticated cattle.

But the genitals of the male present the most remarkable difference. The testicles are proportionately small; over either there lies an accessory testicle extending into a narrow seminal vessel, which appears expanded by a layer of glands at the surface of the bladder, and empties together with glandular seminal cells, although very little developed, in the orifice of the urethra. In the old Ure, there was found in the midst of the two seminal passages, vessels, a single duct, shaped somewhat like a bag, one inch in diameter and four and a half inches in length, which is divided in front and at the top into two arching branches, like the horns of the uterus of the cow, extending 'as channels of 3 to 4 inches in width to the testicle, and there terminating in a cul-de-sac. This consists externally of a tegument of the outer skin as far as it lies in the cavity of the belly, then follows an envelope consisting of muscular fibres, and at the inside there is a membrane covered with epithelium, without distinctly visible glandular apertures. The whole bag, with its two branches, contains a thickish mucus fluid, somewhat resembling semen, yet showing no trace of (seminal) cells, but consisting only of granular cells of a regular form.

This bag terminates in the orifice of the urethra, at the elevation in the middle of the apertures of the seminal duct. This middle bag can not be considered to be anything else but uterus masculinus, first discovered by E. F. Weber in other animals and in man, being in the ure of such a proportionately colossal size as has hitherto not been found in any other animal. Whence the immense amount of matter contained in it originates, and what function it performs, could not be ascertained. The uterus masculinus is also found in the domestic cattle, in which it forms only a small bladder of about the size of a bean, terminating in ducts in the orifice of the urethra.

The pregnancy of the Ure cow lasts nine months, (not seven months only, as was stated in the “Isis," 1831, No. 4; and, therefore, the common cattle can not be descended from the Ure. The Ure grows until he is eight years old, and may attain to the age of forty years. If bred to the domestic cattle, the offspring is fruitful, and several favorable crossings have taken place in the vicinity of the Bialowesch forests, since it was supposed that a race of powerful cattle might be produced in this way, and for that region. Such crosses produced there of late are said to be of a beautiful form, quite tame, very courageous and powerful.

6. The domestic or common ox (bos taurus) is found all over the world, but was introduced into America from Europe. He is domesticated every. where, and variously degenerated.

In the East Indies there is an ox similar to him, and of the same size, being called Gayall or Gyall (bos frontalis.) He is brown, with a gray streak on the forehead and back, but the feet and end of the tail are wbite. He lives in a wild state upon the wooded hills in north-eastern portion of Bengal, and prefers the young branches of trees to grass; he is very courageous, is much easier tamed than the buffalo, is adapted to the draught, and the cow gives a considerable quantity of milk. If paired with the common bull, she produces a fertile offspring.

The zebu (Bos taurus indicus), according to Buffon, is said to be a descendant of the Ure ox, but according to others, of the domestic cattle. This ox likewise possesses thirteen pairs of ribs. The zebu has one or two humps on the back, which, according to more recent investigations, do not consist of fat, as was formerly supposed, but are nothing else than the peculiarly and largely developed muscles of the shoulder blades. The zebus are mostly gray or white, but there are also red and speckled, small and large, horned and hornless ones. They run as fast as horses, and are, therefore, used as roadsters. They form the common cattle in all India, Persia, Arabia, Madagascar, and Africa. They are shod and harnessed like horses, , and are led by a line drawn through the partition wall of the nostrils. Their flesh is not as good as that of the domestic cattle with which they are bred. The bump vanishes entirely after several generations have been interbred with the domestic cattle.

7. The grunting ox, Yak (Bos grunniens) has likewise a hump between the shoulders; he has long hair and a tail like the horse, containing many fine, silky hairs. He has a thick mane along the back, and the flanks and sides of the belly are covered with long, bushy hairs, spread over half the length of the legs. He has fourteen pairs of ribs, utters a monotonous grunting, and is found in Thibet and China, where they are kept in large numbers. The meat is excellent. He is not well adapted for work. His hair is manufactured into shawls. The tail is used as ornaments of the Turkish standards.

From the above it appears that the origin of the domesticated cattle and their original native country is, as yet, not fully ascertained. Formerly the ure was considered the parent of the same, but this is improbable on account of the anatomical differences between the ure and the common cattle. Bones of an ox, somewhat larger than the common ox, but otherwise bearing a striking resemblance to it, have been found deeply imbedded in the earth. In this case the common cattle were thus a special kind, and their ancestors extinct in Europe. As far as the accounts of history and zoological analogy go, several species of cattle have always been domestic animals, which are often mentioned in the Bible, as well as by secular authors, but their native country is Asia.

DEFINITION OF RACE, TRIBE, KIND, ETC. When the numerous specimens of cattle in the different climates and on the different soils are more closely examined, they present many internal and external differences. These differences have ever led to a division of the cattle extant into various groups—races, tribes, kinds and varieties, in order to comprise all that is homogeneous under one head; and on the other hand again, to examine and describe each separately. We retain the old divisions, but will give here the following definitions of race, tribe, kind, &c.

The species cattle is first divided into races. By race we understand a number of animals of the same species distinguished from others, a, by the same form of body, size and color (external appearance); b, by the same qualities in respect to their usefulness and productions (internal worth and character); and c, by the power or ability of transmitting these peculiar qualities, external and internal characteristics, to their offspring. These qualities combined form the character, or type of race,

Those peculiar qualities have originated, in the course of time, from the

original animals extant and the effects of natural influences-soil, climate, nutriment and local conditions. The Podolish-Hungarian cattle is supposed to be the only pure original race yet existing.

Tribe is a subdivision of race. A race is generally divided into several tribes. The animals belonging to a tribe possess a definite equality in respect to their internal and external characteristics—form, size, color and useful qualities, as well as those belonging to a race; yet in each tribe there may be found qualities peculiar to it, by which it is distinguished from other kindred tribes. It likewise possesses the capability of transmitting these characteristics of the tribe to its descendants. The peculiarities of the tribe are formed by other conditions of the soil, climate and locality, and also by special artificial influences, such as the methods of feeding, keeping and using the animals. Instance :the cattle tribes of the Ukrane, Moldavia, Vollhynia, Wallachia, Crimea, &c., all belong to the PodolishHungarian race, and in a strict sense, they represent, with several others, the whole numerous race. Instances in detail :--the Montafan and Allgau cattle are individual tribes of the brown-gray mountain race, as representatives of which the Schwyz cattle is to be considered.

Kind or breed is a further subdivision of (the) tribe, and is to be considered from two points of view.

In the one case a tribe may be divided into many kinds, which have been formed through specifically different conditions of the soil and meth. ods of feeding and using the animals, or by the particular fancy or tendency of breeding pursued by the owner, in regard to the form, color and pur. pose for which the animals are to be used. Therefore the natural breeds are mostly found at the boundary lines of the territories in which the races or tribes are generally spread, where the specific influences just named have a more powerful effect than in or near the central points. Such kinds of animals may still possess the same peculiar form and size, and also the useful qualities, and power of sure hereditary transmission as the original stock animals. Instance :-the cattle kind of the Cossacks at the Dor and Kubar, of Astrachan and the Volga districts, are always kinds belonging to the Podolish-Hungarian race and tribes already men-tioned. On a smaller scale, the so-called Cloisterdale and Walsdale cattle. form two breeds of the Montain tribe. At the furthermost line of theterritory where they are at home, and when transferred into territories naturally less suitable for them, the type of the tribe may gradually be. changed, and the certain hereditary transmission of their qualities be impaired, according to the unfavorable local conditions and a less suitablesystem of feeding and using the animals, so that their value for further

« PreviousContinue »