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Horns attached to highest line of forehead, more or less depressed, and angular, and directed upwards and outwards with little curvature.
A true dorsal ridge but confined to the withers.
The Gavi or Gabi. Habitat trans-Brahmaputram, the forests under the ranges extending from Assam to the sea. The Sénbár vel Phain may probably be a second species, and Bos Sondaicus or the Benteng, a 3rd, and the insular species : but these want testing. The first is more than half redeemed from the wild state, like the Yak of Tibet. The others are entirely wild. I possess no memoranda of the soft anatomy or intestines, nor of the breeding season and gestation.
Cranium large, massive, with the frontal and cerebral portions preponderant over the facial.
Frontals as long as the face, broader than long, concave and surmounted by a salient arched crest.
Occipital plane spheroidal, very large, larger than the frontal plane, deeply indented centrally by the temporal pits, and forming an acute angle with the frontal plane.
Condyles of great foramen and of lower jaw low, and the latter straight.
Horns attached below crest of forehead, sub-depressed, sub-angular, and curving ascendantly.
Thirteen pairs of ribs.
Type. Bos Gaurus vel ? Cavifrons. The Gaur or Gauri Gau. Cæsar's wild Bull of Europe and Aristotle's of Persia, are two other species of
Bibos or of Gaveus, which could we test them might be respectively called Classicus vel Cæsaris et Aristotelis. The Gaurs inhabit the primitive forests of India generally, under the great ranges of mountains, such as the sub-Himalayas, the Vindhias, the Sathpúrás, the Gháts, Eastern and Western, and their links with the Vindhias, and with the Nilgiris. Beyond the Brahmaputra Bibos is replaced by the last type, of which there would seem to be two species in the IndoChinese countries, one of them extending to Ceylon, if the Lanka wild Ox be not rather a Bibos ; I suspect there will prove to be at least two species of Bibos, as of Rusa, inhabitants of India between the Cape (Comorin) and the sub-Himalayas, or B. Gaurus and B. Cavifrons.
For the skeletion of the Gaur, I may refer the reader to the Asiatic Society's Journal, No. 114, and No. 69. Of the intestines I possess no memorandum. The period of gestation was in Nepaul always stated to me to exceed that of the common Ox: but Mr. Elliot will not allow this. The Gours rut in winter and procreate in autumn, producing usually but one young at a birth. The herds are ordinarily rather numerous, 20, 30, 40, and sometines even double these numbers, being found together, but in the breeding season, not above 10 or 15 cows with a single mature vigorous bull, who jealously expels every young and old male from his Haram. The sub-Himalayan species entirely avoids the open Tarai on the one hand, and the hills on the other, adhering to the most solitary parts of the Saul forest, close to and between the salient spurs of the hills where the periodical firing of the undergrowth of the forest never reaches. In the Deccan these animals are said to penetrate into the hills in the hot weather-very partially, I fancy, or else they must then lack cover on the plain, for they are not a mountain race at all. They feed early and late in the more open glades of the forest, posting sentinels the while and manifesting in their whole demeanour a degree of shyness unparalleled among the Bovines. They never venture, even in the rains, when there is abundance of most rank vegetation to cover their approaches, into the open Tarai to depredate on the crops, as the wild Buffaloes constantly do ; nor do they ever associate, or have sexual commerce, with the tame cattle, though immense numbers of the latter every spring are driven into their retreats to feed, and remain there in a half wild condition for three or four months, when the wild Buffaloes frequently have sexual intercourse with the tame ones of their kind, of which likewise vast numbers are depastured there. Old males of the Gaur are often found solitarily wandering the forests they frequent, especially in winter : but these have probably been recently expelled the herds by their more vigorous juniors, and re-unite themselves with some herd after the season of love and contention has passed. It is exceedingly difficult to rear the Gauri Gau in confinement. Nor did I ever know a successful experiment, though the attempt has been, for 50 years past, constantly made by the Court of Nepal, which finds no difficulty in rearing wild Buffaloes and causing them to breed in confinement with the domestic species, which is thus greatly improved in size and other qualities. I have remarked on the excessive shyness of the Gaurs; and it follows that, when approached, they will retreat so long as they can : but if compelled to stand and defend themselves, they do so with a courage and determination not to be surpassed. Their beef is unequalled for flavour and tenderness : but to the aborigines only it is illicit food, and not to all tribes of them ; nor are any of them allowed to kill the Gaur in Hindu kingdoms. The Gaur stands from 6 to 6 feet high at the shoulder, and is either of a ruddy brown, alias tan, or of a black colour, the forehead and limbs below the mid flexures being pale, and the forehead and knees tufted. Capt. Tickell, a good observer, believes that there are two species of Bibos in the Chota Nagpoor territories alone! Doubtless close investigation will reveal many new species in the Bovinæ. 4. Genus Bison.
Yak. Chouri Gau. Cranium moderate, depressed, with the facial portion exceeding the frontal and cerebral parts.
Frontals broader than long, convex and forming on obtuse angle with the occipital plane.
Occipital plane smaller than the frontal plane, trigonal or semi-circular, and ridged by the parietes.
Condyles of great foramen and of lower jaw low, and the jaw straight.
Horns attached below the curved or pent intercornual ridge, rounded and curving out of the horizontal line.
Ribs 14 or 15 pairs.
The latter is the Yak or Chouri Gau. It inhabits all the loftiest plateaux of High Asia between the Altai and the Himalaya, the Belut Tag and the Peling mountains, and is found wild as well as tame. It cannot live on this side the Himalayas beyond the immediate vicinity of the snows, -where the tribes of the Cachar or Juxta-nivean region of the sub-Himalayas rear large herds and cross-breed with the common Ox. The Yak ruts in winter and produces young in autumn, after the usual period of Bovine gestation. Small intestines 107 feet. Large 33 feet. Cæcum 21 feet. Width of small gut 1] inches; of great, 2 inches ; of cæcum 4 inches. Cæcum simple, that is, not sacced nor banded. 5. Genus BUBALUS.
Bhainsa. Arna. Cranium large, elongate, compressed, exhibiting great excess in the facial over the frontal and cerebral portions.
Frontals short, narrow, convex, forming an obtuse angle with the occipital plane.
Occipital plane larger than the frontal, spheroidal, moderately indented.
Condyles of the foramen and lower jaw low, and the jaw little curved.
Horns attached to highest line of frontals, depressed, angular, and horizontal.
Thirteen pairs of ribs.
Habitat of the tame, universal ; of the wild, also every where where adequate cover and swamp exist. The haunts of the Arna or wild
Bornouensis and Brachycerus are to my mind no Buffaloes, and their united horns form a character at variance not only with the genus but the family. Hence I denominate them from this feature Syncerus (ovv et nepos). They are foreign to India, the land of the true Buffaloes.
Buffaloe are the margins rather than the interior of primeval forests. They never ascend the mountains, and adhere, like Rhinoceroses, to the most swampy sites of the districts they frequent. There is no animal upon which ages of domestication have made so small an impression as upon the Buffaloe, the tame species being still most clearly referrible to the wild ones at present frequenting all the great swampy jungles of India. But in those wildernesses as in the cow-houses, a marked distinction may be observed between the long-horned and curve-horned Buffaloes, or the Macrocerus and Speirocerus of my Catalogue—which whether they be separate species or merely varieties, I shall not venture to decide, but I incline to regard them as species. The length of the horns of Macrocerus is sometimes truly enormous, or 6j feet each.
There is such a pair in the British Museum, and another pair I saw in Tirhut. The Arna ruts in autumn and the females produce one or two young in summer after a gestation of 10 months. The herds are usually numerous and sometimes exceedingly so, though at the season of love the most lusty males lead off and appropriate several females with which they form small herds for the time. I have no memorandum of the intestines of the Arna. This noble species is, in the Saul forest and Tarai, a truly stupendous animal, as tall as the Gaur and longer considerably, and of such power and vigour as by his charge frequently to prostrate a well-sized elephant! The wild animals are fully a third larger than the largest tame breed, and measure from snout to vent 107 feet, and six to six and half feet high at the shoulder. The wild Buffaloe is remarkable for the uniform shortness of its tail, which extends not lower than the hock; for the tufts which cover his forehead and knees; and, lastly, for the great size of his horns and the uniform high condition of the animal, so unlike the leanness and angularity of the domestic buffaloe's figure, even at its best.
I have now disposed of all the Bovines proper of India, and might next proceed to the Bovine Antelopes or Busdorcinæ which form another sub-family of the Bovidæ. But those animals, with one exception, and that a doubtful one-viz. Portax picta or the Nilgau-are wholly foreign to India, and the Nilgau itself rarely found on the left bank of the Ganges, how common soever across that river all the way to the Deccan and Carnatic. Wherefore, having no personal knowledge of the group, I leave it untouched. It will be seen above that my