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up into blunt fragments, withont having produced the slightest injury to the gizzard. But these experiments go rather to prove the extraordinary force and grinding powers of the gizzard, than to throw light upon the positive use of the pebbles swallowed; which, after all, Spallanzani thought were swallowed without any definite object, but from mere stupidity. Blumenbach and Dr. Bostock aver that fowls, however well supplied with food, grow lean without them, and to this we can bear our own testimony. Yet the question, what is their precise effect, remains to be answered. Boerhaave thought it probable that they might act as absorbents to superabundant acid; others have regarded them as irritants or stimulants to digestion ; and Borelli supposed that they might really contribute some degree of nutriment. John Hunter, in his treatise “On the Animal Economy," after noticing the grinding powers of the gizzard, says, in reference to the pebbles swallowed, " We are not, however, to conclude that stones are entirely useless ; for if we compare the strength of the muscles of the jaws of animals who masticate their food, with those of birds who do not, we shall
say that the parts are well calculated for the purpose of mastication; yet we are not thence to infer that the teeth in such jaws are useless, even although we have proof that the gums do the business when the teeth are gone. If pebbles are of use, which we may reasonably conclude they are, birds have an advantage over animals having teeth, so far as pebbles are always to be found, while the teeth are not renewed. If we constantly find in an organ, substances which can only be subservient to the functions of that organ, should we deny their use, although the part can do its office without them? The stones assist in grinding down the grain, and, by separating its parts, allow the gastric juice to come more readily in contact with it."
This we believe to be the true theory,—the pebbles assist in crushing the grain, and at the same time prevent it from consolidating into a thick, heavy, compacted mass, which would take a far longer time in undergoing the digestive process, than when separated and intermingled with the pebbles.
The gallinaceous birds are very prolific, and most are polygamous. The nest is, as a rule, made upon the ground; the
young are hatched covered with down, and in a few hours are
capable of running about, and following their parent; they pick up their food, to which the mother conducts them, without having to be fed like the young of the finches and warblers in their snug nests, till they acquire the power of flitting about. They repose at night huddled up beneath their parent's wings.
The males of the species composing the present group are extremely pugnacious, and will often fight with each other to the death of one of the rivals. The game-cock, the jungle-cock, the pheasant, and the quail, are notorious for their combative propensities. The females are devoted to their broods, and lose all sense of personal danger in their defence; a hen will fly boldly in the face of a dog, and even the timid partridge will fight for its young. Mr. Selby records an instance in which a pair of partridges (for these birds are not polygamous) attacked a crow which had attempted to seize one of their brood; they fought not only courageously but successfully, for they actually fastened upon and held their sable adversary ; and so absorbed were they in the strife, that they persisted in their hold till the spectator of the combat came to their aid, and seized upon the mis
creant. Upon search, the young birds were found concealed in the grass around the scene of action. Of none of the gallinaceous birds is the flesh unfit for food. That of many is a delicacy, and at the same time highly nutritive and easily digestible. Pheasants, partridges, quails, and grouse need no recommendation.
THE COMMON FOWL.
The common fowl, (Gallus domesticus Ray.*) This valuable domestic bird, of which the varieties are extremely numerous, is doubtless derived from some of the wild or jungle fowls of India, and is, perhaps, crossed by more than one species. At what period, or by what people the wild jungle-fowl was reclaimed and brought to become a pensioner on the bounty of man, we have no means of ascertaining. But as the writers of antiquity speak of it a bird long domesticated in their days, and extensively spread, we may justly conclude that its subjugation ranks amongst the remote of man's peaceful conquests over the animal kingdom.
* In the restricted genus, (Gallus) the head is ornamented in the male, and generally in the female, with a naked comb, single in the jungle-fowls and game domestic races, but in many domestic breeds double, or spread in a rose shape. Wattles, two. Spurs in the male. The tail consists of fourteen feathers, forming two vertical planes, making what is called a folded tail. In the male, the middle feathers are the longest, and fall over the others in a graceful arch. In some domestic breeds, the comb is small, and the top of the head elegantly plumed with a tuft of feathers,
Its domestication was probably first achieved in India, while, at the same time, in Malay, another species known as the Malay gigantic fowl, might have been also subjugated, and from these points distinct races, soon intermingling together, might have radiated.
And here, perhaps, we may be permitted to take a review of the wild birds or species which may have contributed to the domestic varieties.
1st. The Malay gigantic fowl, (Gallus giganteus-Temminck.) This large and very remarkable species is a native of Java and Sumatra. The male bird in its natural attitude exceeds two feet in height, measuring from the top of the head to the ground. The comb is thick, and low, and destitute of serrations, appearing as if it had been partially cut off, the wattles are small, and the throat is bare. The neck is covered with elongated feathers or hackles, of a pale golden reddish colour, which advance upon the back, and