« السابقةمتابعة »
common to both, which any good description of C. ibex will supply : as in the particulars in which other species differ from the one, they will also differ from the other,-the horns and beard of course excepted, being the only known discrepancies between the two.* Capt. Munro's remark that the drawing I suggested to represent the female of C. megaceros, Hutton (v. Falconeri), from comparison of it with Capt. Hutton's description of that animal, should (as its native name implies) be considered rather as the female of the Ibex figured, I willingly bow to as a just piece of criticism, in contrast, I am sorry to think, with all the rest.
From the whole tone of this minute, it is perfectly clear that Capt. M. laboured under the erroneous impression that a large sum had been promised to me for the performance of a certain task, and that I had not given the Society the worth of their money; and this it seems to be his object to show very unsparingly. The Society is, of course, right in expecting the highest amount of qualification from its scientific officers : but it is for the members of the Society to consider what they give in return for such proficiency, and what advantages their Museum and Library afford for isolated study, unaided as in Europe by the friendly intercourse of numerous fellow students of the same subject, who inutually impart much valuable information one to another, and by the great facilities afforded otherwise in various ways.* It is for them also to consider how much discouragement is involved in the slight offered to an officer from whom so much is expected, by allowing him no voice whatever in axlvising the Society respecting the selection of plates for publication, which he is called upon to illustrate ; though by regarding which, they might at least have chosen the better of two drawings of the same species for publication, instead of going to the expense of lithographing both, and have avoided that expense in numerous other cases where the commonest European species were badly figured. There are few, I think, but will allow that I have little cause to be satisfied with any part of my connexion with this unfortunate publication, now so decried, though formerly so highly eulogized; and the minute which I have now essayed to reply to is a fitting conclusion to the former history of all that relates to myself in connexion with the undertaking. In affording me, however, a plea and an occasion to express my sentiments freely, in this matter, I have perhaps no reason to be dissatisfied that it has appeared in the Journal. While confined to a private circulation among the members of the Society, I thought it preferable to remain silent, and spend my time more profitably to the Society than in controversy of any kind; but now that it has gone forth to Europe and the world, in the pages of the Journal, it becomes incumbent on me to have a due respect for my own reputation, by meeting the charges made against me, as I trust to the satisfaction of the Society. An opposite course would imply my acknowledgment of the justice of the criticism.
* In C. ibex the beard is constantly reduced to a mere rudiment, that must be looked for to be observed (much as in Ruppell's figure of C. walie); while in C. sakeen it forms a large and conspicuous tuft, as in C. agagrus, C. jaëla, and others. In Proc. Zool. Soc., loc. cit., supru, it is mentioned that the Himalayan Ibex is very closely allied to the Swiss one, having a similar rudimental beard, and colouring, so far as I could learn : and acting upon the information supplied to me, in both cases, I mentioned in a letter to the Secretary of the Zoological Society, written on board ship, and published in their ‘Proceedings' for Aug. 10, 1841, that the Nilgherry Ibex had “ a considerable beard, in which character” (misprinted characters) “it differs from the Himalayan Ibex." This passage Capt. Munro has cited. Further, in corroboration of the statement of my fel. low passenger Lieut. Beagin, I find that Dr. Baikie, in his . Observations on the Nilgher. ries,' p. 45, after describing a specimen of the female of the so called Nilgherry Iber, adds—“The male at a distance appears at least six inches taller, nearly black, with very large knotted horns, and a long black or brown beard,” &c. &c.-On the other hand, Mr. Jerdon assures me that the so called Ibex of the Nilgherries is no other than the Kemas hylocrins, Ogilby, or. Capra warryatoo of Gray (vide J. A. S. XII, 181, bis); which animal I believe to be erroneously assigned by Mr. Gray to Nepal, as formerly to Chittagong, and that it is quite peculiar to the Nilgherries. It is not an Ibex, but akin to the Tehr (or Jharal) and to the Goral of the Himalaya. In these animals, the horns are not elongated as in the true wild goats, nor have they any trace of beard on the chin; and they are very remarkable for possessing four developed teats, whereas all the nearly allied animals have but two. (I do not consider Næmorhædus as being nearly allied to them). As for the Himalayan Ibex, I find from examination of specimens, that I was erroneously informed respecting the non-development of its beard. In the head of a young male, belonging to Major Broome, now in the Museum, this measures 4 inches in length.-P. S. In a letter just opportunely received from Mr. Jerdon, that naturalist remarks--"Of course there is no such animal as Baikie's [Nilgherry] Ibex with knotted horns and a beard ; though I have beard some sportsmen speak of a beard, yet not one was ever produced that had one."
I have the honour to be,
E. Blyth. Asiatic Society's Rooms, Sept. lith, 1847. * For example, how much precious time is here lost in the determination of
genera and species, which, with collateral information on the superior groups to which they belong, may be learned at a glance at the specimens in any well arranged museum of adequate extent, where each brunch of Zoology (for instance) has its own particular superintendent.
Report of Curator, Zoological Department, for Septamber 1817.
The following specimens have been received since the last meeting of the Society
1. From Lieut. Strachey, 66th N. I. A package containing three skins of Tibetan animals, that had been long overdue, having been lying for some months in the premises of a mercantile firm in Calcutta. Under such circumstances, it is rare that skins of animals escape becoming utterly ruined by insects ; but the present instance affords an exception to this very general rule, as the specimens are as free from injury as when they were packed. They are as follow :
An imperfect skin of a blackish or melanoid variety of the Tibetan Wolf, desiguated Lupus laniger by Mr. Hodgson. Together with it, and in illustration, I exhibit an equally black Jackal, presented to the Society some time ago by W. Seton Carr, Esq.; and we have another common Jackal of a light rufous sandy colour, which variety is not very rare in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, upon the opposite side of the river only. The dark Wolf-skin las the head imperfect, and is mutilated of the paws and brush; but the muzzle and ears are present, sufficing to remove any doubt that might have arisen otherwise respecting the identification of the skin as that of a Wolf. It is a particularly beautiful specimen, or would have been so if perfect. The melanism consists in the much greater admixture of black than usual in the fur, giving the predominant tone of colour; the whitish being most apparent on the sides of the body. The ears are wholly black; the face and limbs chiefly so, or suffused throughout with fuscous, having a few whitish hairs intermised; and there is a conspicuous ridge of lengthened black hair along the spine, much developed posterior to the shoulders,—the same hair as is found in all other Wolves, but appearing in them whitish with black tips only. A corresponding dark variety of the European Wolf was denominated Canis lycaon by Linnæus : and such variation of colour is less unusual in the Wolves of Arctic America.
For comparison, I also exhibit three fine stuffed specimens of Tibetan Wolves in their normal colouring, and a particularly fine stuffed specimen of a European Wolf, from Norway. An Indian Wolf I have never yet been fortunate enough to procure for the Society, though so common on the plains of Hindustan. According to Mr. Hodgson, the Tibetan race “has the general form of the European Wolf; but its colour is very different, and it has more elerated brows, larger ears, and a much fuller brush. Its pelage is also dissimilar and unique.” On comparison of the Society's specimens, it will be seen that the brush of the European Wolf is fully as fine as (if not finer than) that of either of the three Tibetan specimens; and the ears measure the same: but the Tibetan is a much slighter animal than the European Wolf, with considerably smaller paws. Its pelage is finer and softer, rather longer, but certainly not more dense and woolly next the skin; and the general tone of colour is much paler, this arising, however, in a great measure, from the considerable diminution of the number of black-tipped hairs on the sides (in most specimens), and their total absence-or nearly so -on the limbs; the distinct black streak in front of the fore-limbs of the European Wolf, as of the Jackal, being but very slightly indicated in the majority of individuals of the Tibetan Wolf, and in some specimens not at all. European Wolves vary a good deal, in some being much more fulvescent than others, or having the black tips and markings more developed : and the same variation occurs in the Tibetan race; the fulvous of the European Wolf being replaced by a delicate light isabelline, or rufous cream-colour, wbich prevails on the neck, upper-half of limbs, shoulders, and saddle (where mixed with the usual long black-tipped hairs); and the ears of some are conspicuously bright light rufous, while in others this colour is paler, and more or less mixed with black, as in European specimens. The pale colour of the Tibetan Wolf is in conformity with that of many other animals of the same region, as the Foxes, Bear, Ounce, Lynx, &c., and the Leopard when inhabiting near the snows. Comparing the skull of a European Wolf with four skulls of Tibetan Wolves (presented by G. T. Lushington, Esq., IV, 56), the most marked difference consists in the superior development and elevation of the super-orbital process in the latter; the muzzle, too, is somewhat broader in the European, and its teeth are decidedly larger and more robust ;* the ensemble is sufficiently different to enable one who has examined them together to pronounce, I think, with confidence in which of these regions a Wolf-skull had been procured; but individuals of each race differ to that extent that we should not be too hasty in assuming any particular distinction as absolute and invariable. Specimens of Wolves from other parts of middle and northern Asia require to be extensively compared, ere the vexed question of specific differences or identity can be determined with so much as an approximation to probability. Nevertheless, the analogy afforded by the adjudged distinctness of the Bear, Ounce, and Lynx, of Tibet--not to mention other instances, is in favor of the Wolf also being a peculiar species, though distinguished in a less marked manner from its nearest affines. For the present, however, I think we can only venture to regard it as Canis lupus, var. laniger, (Hodgson.)
. I observe reinarkable difference, however, in this respeet, between the different Tibetan Wolf skulls.
Felis unciu, Lin. A flat skin, perfect, with the unfortunate exception of the four paws, of which it is mutilated. Another and finer Ounce skin was some time ago sent us by Mr. Lushington, similarly imperfect.
F. isabellina, nobis, n. s. The Lynx of Tibet. An imperfect skin, which I exhibit together with three other specimens of Lynxes from Tibet, and with three from Norway,—the latter being of the species referred to F. lynx, L., by M. Temminck, and which is termed F. virgata by M. Nilsson. The difference of colour of the Tibetan from the ordinary European Lynx is much the same as with the Wolves of the two regions: the Tibetan animal exhibiting a deficiency of colour ; and the markings also are much less brought out, in the summer pelage, than I have seen in specimens of the ordinary European Lynx. A distinction, however, which I cannot help regarding as specifical exists in the very much larger naked pads of the feet and toes, at all seasons, in the Tibetan as compared with the European Lynx; in the laiter those of the toes are even discovered with difficulty, amid the very long fur that completely conceals them ; whereas in the Tibetan species these pads are large and prominent, and the fur between them is short and close, and does not conceal them at all. In other respects, the two animals bear much resemblance, except that (so far as can be judged from skins only) the Tibetan would seem to be a taller and more slender species. The ears and tail are shaped and coloured as in the other ; but the ear-tufts of the Tibetan Lynx would seem to be always more developed, measuring 2 inches and upwards in length. The fur varies much, according to season. specimen before me, in full summer dress, the pelage is short, and of an uniform dull sandy-brown colour, deeper and more rufous along the back, where grizzled with whitish-tipped and also some black-tipped hairs, which on the sides are diffused more scantily : the lower-parts are white, with (as usual) some scattered dusky spots ; and there are some not very conspicuous markings of a deeper hue outside of the limbs : face and mouchetures as in the European Lynx. Another and mounted specimen is much paler, a light isabelline hue predominating ; and at a proper distance and angle of vision, the Ocelot-like markings of the European Lynx in summer may just be made out upon the sides of the croup, and the spots on the limbs and sides of the body are comparatively distinct; the blackish bars on the inside of the fore-limbs being well developed. The winter dress is of a nearly uniform fine rufous cream
am-colour, or isabelline, below the surface, but showing more or less'; the hairs whitish-tipped with black at the extreme tips, producing a somewhat grizzled appearance; the isabelline hue underne being much less deep than in the European Lynx, in which the colour is rather a full rich orange-brown: sides paler and longer-haired, as usual, and the colour purer, passing to white underneath, intermixed with black hairs that grow