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relieve our catalogues of the incumbrance of fictitious species, Zoologists have great reason to complain that he suffers the misleading synonymes of his own imposing to remain permanently uncorrected. Thus, when I privately informed Mr. Hodgson that his Astur indicus
termed another—“ Gregicolus, (nob.)”– In all seven new names (to pass over the extraordinary construction of some of them)!
“ Of these,” it is added, “ 2 and 3 are nearly allied to cristatella and tristis ; 4 and 5 to pagodarum and malabarica. The 6th inclines much to Sturnus ; and the 7th, a very osculant species, has a very considerable resemblance in the form of its wings, tail and legs, to Cinclosoma,” (indeed it has no sort of relationship with the Myuahs).
Not one of these names has since been rectified, except by myself'; though referring to some of the commonest birds of the whole Bengal Presidency. Thus, Religiosa is the common Hill Mynah, so often caged, and now standing as Gracula affinis, A. Hay, (XV, 32.) Cristelloides is another species first distinguished by Lord Arthur Hay, (vide XV, 33,) from Acridotheres cristutellus, (L.), of China ; and it now stands as Acr. griseus, (Horsfield): though Dr. Horsfield was not justified in changing the name of his Javanese bird to griseus, since he believed in its identity with the Chinese cristatellus. Tristoides is the common House Mynah, Acr. tristis, (L.), so abundant throughout the country. Gregicolus is Acr. ginginianus, (L.), or the common Bank Mynah. Communis is Sturnus contra, Auct., now termed Sturnopastor (contra) by Mr. Hodgson. Sylvestris is Sturnia pagodarum, (Gm.), v. melanocephala, ( Bahl). Afinis is St. malabarica. And Terricolor is the ‘ Brown Indian Thrush' of Edwards, first identified as such by myself, and also first distinguished by myself, (not by Mr. Hodgson, whose name I have nevertheless adopted,) from the nearly allied Malacocercus striatus, Swainson, of Ceylon.
Now, what benefit to science, it may well be asked, accrues from this random application of a host of new names ; without so much as a clue to the particular species they refer to ? Or what skill is required in the manufacture of such names? It is true that they are not binding in the least, unless some kind of intelligible description, or distinctly recognisable figure, is attached to them ; but even in the latter case it is scarcely fair that those who first really discriminate species from their affines should be deprived of the right of naming them, because they had previously been described perhaps at random, without any trouble having been taken to determine whether they really were new-or perchance even familiarly known, as were most of Mr. Hodgson's Mynahs just referred
There is an old story that the most unskilful marksman may hit his object occasionally by flinging a handful of missiles at it together : and so by affixing new names to a multitude of species thus at random, and describing them at a venture, the merest tyro may chance to have his vanity gratified, sometimes, by seeing his name quoted as the describer of an actual novelty, regardless of the number of synonymes to which also he finds his name attached, and of the confusion which he thus oftentimes introduces.
It would be a beneficial rule if the merits of a describer of new species were to be estimated by the number of those which he succeeds in establishing, minus or deducted by that of the synonymes which he has applied to previously known species, or at least of such as remain uncorrected by him after a given period : and the permanent establish
had been previously named Falco trivirgatus by Temminck, that gentleman replied that he had been long aware of it; but he has certainly never given publicity to the information (as I hastened to do, in XI, 6). As Mr. Hodgson has not scrupled to refer to my unpublished opinion (of which more presently), respecting Antilope gutturosa (XV, 335), there can surely be no occasion for my refraining to publish what I have just stated of Astur trivirgatus.*
But enough of this tu quoque style of argument: though a little rebutting is fairly allowable in a contest wherein rams' horns are colicerned! My paper on the wild Sheep was originally published in the * Proceedings of the Zoological Society' for July 28, 1840; was republished in Taylor's Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' Vol. VII, pp. 195, 248, with a few additional notes, and a plate representing the horns of some of the species; and was again republished, with further additional notes, in the Society's Journal,' X, 853, to which last republication I shall refer, for the convenience of most readers in India. Let us see whether “many” of the species were founded “
upon an inspection of the horns solely.”
1. Ovis Polii, nobis, Founded on a magnificent frontlet and horns brought by Lieutenant Wood from the Pamir steppe ; combined with the notice quoted from Marco Polo, which refers undeniably to the same animal. Of the distinctness of this superb species, there can be no doubt whatever; and the frontlet is figured in Taylor's plate, figs. 1 and 2.
2, 3, and 4. 0. ammon, Pallas ; 0. montana, Desmarest; and 0.
ment of a doubtful species named by another, or the reduction of such to the rank of a synonyme, should be regarded as a labour of equal or even higher merit than the promul. gation of a species previously undeseribed. Such a rule would furnish a criterion by which to appreciate the labours of y naturalist in this line, by enabling us to strike a balance between the amount of good he may have effected by adding to the stores of knowledge, and that of evil which he has introduced in the shape of confusion. It would check much recklessness in the imposition of new names which now unhappily prevails in several quarters.
* It is true that the name Astur indicus was published anonymously, in the ' Bengal Sporting Magazine,' and therefore the only legitimate sponsor that can be quoted for it is the editor of that periodical for the time; but it has nevertheless been repeatedly quoted as Mr. Hodgson's species, and has been acknowledged as such by him, and therefore it surely behoved Mr. Hodgson to set matters right without delay when he learned that it had been described by Temminck.
nivicola, Eschscholtz. The first of these I had never seen, and could refer to merely : the second I was well acquainted with: and the third I only knew from M. Eschscholtz's work, but referred also to a notice of it in the narrative of Kotzebue's voyage. The Society's Museum now boasts a very fine specimen of O. ammon,* which I am enabled to assert, positively, is distinct from 0. montana of North America : and I incline to refer to it, though with considerable hesitation, the horn in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, (vide Taylor's plate, figs. 3 and 4,) for which I suggested the provisional name sculptorum ; and without any hesitation Mr. Hodgson's large species, first provisionally named by me Hodgsonii upon Mr. Hodgson's description of the horns in the 'Asiatic Researches, and subsequently by him ammonoides.f Pallas's figure of 0. ammon, copied into various works, though sufficiently rude, indicates certain characters which are at once recognised in the Society's specimen ; such as the lengthened white hair on the fore-neck and breast, the corresponding hair in 0. montana being blackish ; and there is no reddish-black tinge on the face of 0. ammon : the horns are badly represented; but, with a specimen for comparison, it is readily seen that the errors are due to want of skill in the daughtsman. These horns are considerably less massive than in 0. montana, and their section is very different, and especially the view of them as seen from above : but they are more prolonged, in an inverse ratio to the decreased bulk towards the base ; though considerably less prolonged and thicker at base than in 0.
* Presented by G. T. Lushington, Esq., who has announced to nie the despatch of four more perfect skins : we have also an imperfect skull of a young male. To Mr. Lushington the Society is likewise indebted for a skin of the Kiang received, and for another and more perfect specimen now on its route ; with numerous other valuable contributions.
+ Mr. H. even confounded O. ammon with O. nahoor, in As. Res. XVIII, pt. II, 135; and the mistake was first pointed out in my paper : but as he described the horns of quite a young ram (vide his plate) as “ accurately triangular" (i. e. equilaterally?) I did not feel justified in identifying the species with 0. ammon : stating that even the · Rocky Mountain species would, at the same age, have much compressed horns, far from attaining to an equilateral triangle;" to which I added that—"Should a true species be here indicated, as is not improbable, distinct from 0. ummon, I propose that it be dedicated to that assiduous investigator of Nepalese Zoology, and be accordingly termed 0. Hodgsonii !" My opinion now, that it is, positively and decidedly, identical with O. ammon, will of course be received quantùm valeat, in opposition to that of Mr. Hodgson; who, however, has not advanced a single reason for supposing otherwise.
Polii. The most marked contrast from those of 0. montana consists in the fact that the great bulge in the upper portion of the posterior surface of the horn in 0. montana (which I refer to from memory only, though with the utmost confidence), is comparatively little more than indicated in 0. ammon ; and the rugæ are particularly large in the latter species. Comparing the Society's stuffed specimen with Mr. Hodgson's figures and description of his (so called) 0. ammonoides, the specifical identity is beyond all question ; and it follows that, as in 0. montana, some individual variation occurs in different specimens. Thus, the horns of the Society's specimen are rather more bulky than those figured and described by Mr. Hodgson, (though, by his own showing, * he has represented them too small in his plate III). In the Society's animal, the horns had about completed their fifth year of growth; and measure round the curve (following the upper angle from the base—where the two are nearly in contact), thirty-three inches and a half, of which the years of growth are successively seven inches, eight and a half, nine, five and a half, and the basal (perhaps incomplete) four and a half; the circumference at base is eighteen inches, width of anterior plane at base four inches, and depth at base posteriorly six inches and a half ; greatest width apart of the horns, measured externally, twenty-three inches; the tips eighteen inches apart. Length of ears four inches and a half; and of tail underneath (where nude of hair) fully three and a half, exclusive of its upper vesture. The total length of this specimen, when fresh, would have been fully six feet ; but as none of its bones are preserved, except the horn-cores, I will not (with the example of Martes tufæus before me) pretend to give the minutiæ of its admeasurements.
5. O. californiana, Douglas. Description cited from Zoological Journal ;' and the horns fully described by myself, and figured in Taylor's plate, fig. 5. An unquestionable species.
“ Head, 10 base of horn, one foot. Length of horn, by curve, three feet one inch.” These proportions are not preserved in the plate, especially in the lateral view of the head. How is it, too, that the caudal disk is not represented in the figure of the female ?
* In the skull of a young ram, with horns in their third year of growth, these curve round outwards to the tip, where they commence to gyre forward and even somewhat mward, as in the other, the tips ultimately turning outward in the old animal. In this specimen, each horn measures 20; inches round the curve, and their tips are that distance apart : the first year's growth measuring 114 inches, and the second year's ovly five inches.
6. O. nahoor, Hodgson. Described from specimens, amongst which was a hornless female ; and first clearly established as distinct from 0. ammon !*
7. O. burrhel, nobis. Described from a fine male; and the horn of a still older one. It would seem, however, that I was wrong in assigning to it a loftier altitude of haunt than that of O. nahoor. Capt. Smith informs me that 0. burrhel and O. nahoor keep always in separate flocks, and are never seen on the same feeding-ground; the Burrhel seldom ascending above 16,000 feet elevation, while the Nahoor goes much higher. Both bleat like domestic sheep. Near the Boorendu Pass, the Burrhel is much more plentiful than the Nahoor ; but the latter is far more extensively diffused over the Himalaya generally. At the close of summer, when the snow is nearly melted away, a very nutritious grass grows abundantly under a thin coating of snow, and both species become exceedingly fat by feeding upon it, i. e. in the months of August, September, and October. At this time they can only be compared to the prize animals exhibited at the Smithfield shows, and they run with considerable difficulty, though still being far from easy of approach. In winter, when snowed in, they actually browze the hair off each other's bellies, many together having retired under the shelter of some overhanging rock, from which they come out wretchedly poor. They produce one or two young, (commonly two,) in June and July. In Taylor's plate, the representations of the horns of these two species were unluckily transposed ; No. 6 referring to 0, burrhel, and No. 7 to 0. nahoor.
8. 0. cylindricornis, nobis. This is the least satisfactorily established of all the species in my monograph: it resting on a communi. cation from Col. Hamilton Smith, relative to a species which must have been very different from either of those known to me, though described from memory only by Col. H. Smith (one of the most experienced of Zoologists in the history of the Ruminantia,)
I may therefore legitimately claim credit for being the first to discriminate, in print, not only the three Himalayan, but all the Asiatic species of wild Ovis known up to the present time : unless 0. nivicula of Kamtschatka be considered an exception, though MI, Eschscholtz does not explain in what respects this differs from 0.ammon and 0. montana ; from the latter of which it would seem only to deviate in its inferior size, and in wanting the pale caudal disk ?