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   Chapter 4 THE TURKEY HISTORIC

The Philosophy of Despair By David Starr Jordan Characters: 67233

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Having disposed of such records as we have of the extinct ancestors of the American turkeys-the so-to-speak meleagrine records-we can now pass to what is, comparatively speaking, the modern history of these famous birds, although some of this history is already several centuries old.

We have seen in the foregoing chapter that all the described fossil species of turkeys have been restricted to the genus Meleagris, and this is likewise the case with the existing species and subspecies. Right here I may say that the word Meleagris is Greek as well as Latin, and means a guinea-fowl. This is due to the fact that when turkeys were first described and written about they were, by several authors of the early times, strangely mixed up with those African forms, and the two were not entirely disentangled for some time, as we shall see further on in this chapter. In modern ornithology, however, the generic name of Meleagris has been transferred from the guinea-fowls to the turkeys. These last, as they are classified in "The A. O. U. Check-List of the American Ornithologists' Union," which is the latest authoritative word upon the subject, stand as follows:

Family Meleagrid?. Turkeys.

Genus Meleagris Linn?us.

Meleagris Linn?us, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, 1, 1758, 156. Type, by subs, desig., Meleagris gallopavo Linn?us (Gray, 1840).

Meleagris gallopavo (Linn?us).

Range.-Eastern and south central United States, west to Arizona and south to the mountains of Oaxaca.

a. [Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo. Extralimital.]

b. Meleagris gallopavo silvestris Vieillot. Wild Turkey [310a].

Meleagris silvestris Vieillot Nouv., Dict. d'Hist. Nat., IX, 1817, 447.

Range.-Eastern United States from Nebraska, Kansas, western Oklahoma, and eastern Texas east to central Pennsylvania, and south to the Gulf coast; formerly north to South Dakota, southern Ontario, and southern Maine.

c. Meleagris gallopavo merriami Nelson. Merriam's Turkey [310].

Meleagris gallopavo merriami Nelson, Auk, XVII, April, 1900, 120.

(47 miles southwest of Winslow, Arizona.)

Range.-Transition and Upper Sonoran zones in the mountains of southern Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, western Texas, northern Sonora, and Chihuahua.

d. Meleagris gallopavo osceola Scott. Florida Turkey [310b].

Meleagris gallopavo osceola Scott, Auk, VII, Oct., 1890, 376. (Tarpon Springs, Florida.)

Range.-Southern Florida.

e. Meleagris gallopavo intermedia Sennett. Rio Grande Turkey [310c].

Meleagris gallopavo intermedia Sennett. Bull. U. S. Geol. & Geog. Surv. Terr., V, No. 3, Nov., 1879, 428. (Lomita, Texas.)

Range.-Middle northern Texas south to northeastern Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas.

The presenting of the above list here does away with giving, in the history of the wild turkeys, any of the very numerous changes that have taken place through the ages which led up to its adoption. The discussion of these changes, as a part of meleagrine history, would make an octavo volume of two hundred pages or more.

It may be said here, however, that the word gallopavo is from the Latin, gallus a cock, and pavo a peafowl, while the meanings of the several words silvestris, merriami, osceola, and intermedia are self-evident and require no definitions.

Audubon, who gives the breeding range of the wild turkey as extending "from Texas to Massachusetts and Vermont" (Vol. V., p. 56), says of them in his long account: "I have ascertained that some of these valuable birds are still to be found in the states of New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. In the winter of 1832-33, I purchased a few fine males in the city of Boston"; and further, "At the time when I removed to Kentucky, rather more than a fourth of a century ago, turkeys were so abundant that the price of one in the market was not equal to that of a common barn-fowl now. I have seen them offered for the sum of three pence each, the birds weighing from ten to twelve pounds. A first-rate turkey, weighing from twenty-five to thirty pounds avoirdupois, was considered well sold when it brought a quarter of a dollar."[9]

From these remarks we may imagine how plentiful wild turkeys must have been on the North American continent, when Aristotle wrote his work "On Animals," over three hundred years before the birth of Christ, upward of twenty-three centuries ago! A good many changes can take place in the avifauna of a country in that time.

How these big, gallinaceous fowls ever got the name of "turkey" has long been a matter of dispute; and not a few ornithologists and writers of note in the 16th and 17th centuries erroneously conceived that the term had something to do either with the Turks or their country. But this idea has now been entirely abandoned, for it has become quite clear that, during the times mentioned, the turkey was strangely confused with the guinea-fowl, a bird to which the name turkey was originally applied.

Later on, both these birds became more abundant, as more of them were domesticated and reared in captivity, and the fact was gradually realized that they were entirely different species of fowls. During these times, the word turkey was finally applied only to the New World species, and the West African form was thereafter called "Guinea-fowl."[10] After the word turkey was more generally applied to the bird now universally so known, some believe that there was another reason as to how it came about, and this "possibly because of its reputed call-note," says Newton, "to be syllabled turk, turk, turk, whereby it may be almost said to have named itself." (Notes and Queries, ser. 6, III, pp. 23, 369.)[11]

Plate II

Fig. 6. Superior view of the skull of an old male wild turkey; lower jaw removed. No. 9695, Coll. U. S. National Museum. Fig. 7. Lower jaw or mandible of the skull shown in Fig. 6., seen from above. Fig. 8. Superior view of a skull of a wild turkey and probably a female. Lower jaw removed and shown in Fig. 9. No. 19684, Coll. U. S. National Museum. Fig. 9. Lower jaw of the skull shown in Fig. 8. Superior aspect. Fig. 10. Upper view of the skull of a wild Florida turkey (Meleagris g. osceola); lower jaw removed and not figured. Female. No. 18797, Coll. U. S. National Museum. All the figures in this plate are reproductions of photographs of the specimens made natural size by Dr. Shufeldt. Reduced about one-fourth.

So much for the origin of the name turkey; and when one comes to search through the literature devoted to this fowl to ascertain who first described the wild species, the opinion seems to be pretty general that this was done by Oviedo in the thirty-sixth chapter of his "Summario de la Natural Historia de las Indias," which it is stated appeared about the year 1527.

Professor Spencer F. Baird, apparently quoting Martin, says: "Oviedo speaks of the turkey as a kind of peacock abounding in New Spain, which had already in 1526 been transported in a domestic state to the West India Islands and the Spanish Main, where it was kept by the Christian colonists."[12]

In an elegant and comprehensive article on "The Wild Turkey," Bennett states: "Oviedo, whose Natural History of the Indies contains the earliest description extant of the bird, and whose acquaintance with the animal productions of the newly discovered countries was surprisingly extensive. He speaks of it as a kind of Peacock found in New Spain, of which a number had been transported to the islands of the Spanish Main, and domesticated in the houses of the Christian inhabitants. His description is exceedingly accurate, and proves that before the year 1526, when his work was published at Toledo, the turkey was already reduced to a state of Domestication."[13]

Again, in a very elaborate and now thoroughly classical contribution, Pennant states: "The first precise description of these birds is given by Oviedo, who, in 1525, drew up a summary of his greater work, the History of the Indies, for the use of his monarch Charles V.[14] This learned man had visited the West Indies and its islands in person, and paid particular regard to the natural history. It appears from him, that the Turkey was in his days an inhabitant of the greater islands and of the mainland. He speaks of them as Peacocks; for being a new bird to him, he adopts that name from the resemblance he thought they bore to the former. 'But,' says he, 'the neck is bare of feathers, but covered with a skin which they change after their phantasie into diverse colours. They have a horn (in the Spanish Pe?on corto) as it were on their front, and hairs on the breast.' (In Purchas, III, 995.) He describes other birds which he also calls Peacocks. They are of the gallinaceous genus, and known by the name of Curassao birds, the male of which is black, the female ferruginous."[15]

Dr. Coues, who has also written an article on the history of the wild turkey, which, by the way, is mainly composed of a lengthy quotation from the above cited article of Bennett's, says: "Linn?us, however, knew perfectly well that the turkey was American. He says distinctly: 'Habitat in America septentrionali,' and quotes as his first reference (after Fn. Soec. 198), the Gallopavo sylvestris nov? angli?, or New England Wild Turkey of Ray. Brisson distinguished the two perfectly, giving an elaborate description, a copious synonomy, and a good figure of each; and from about this time it may be considered that the history of the two birds, so widely diverse, was finally disentangled, and the proper habitat ascribed to each." (Refers to first describers of the pintado and turkey.)[16]

So much for the earliest describers of the wild turkey, and I shall now pass on to the general history of the bird, and, through presenting what has been collected for us by the best authors on the subject, endeavor to show how, after the wild turkey was found in America by different navigators and explorers, it was brought, from time to time, to several of the countries of the Old World-chiefly Spain and Great Britain-from whence it probably was taken, upon different occasions, into other countries of the continent.

Wild turkeys have always been easy to capture, and we are aware of the fact that they are quite capable of crossing the Atlantic on shipboard in comfort and safety, landing in as good a condition-if properly cared for during the voyage-as when they left America. Josselyn (1672) in his New England Rarities (p. 9) has not a little to say on this point.

As already stated, the literature and bibliography of the turkey is quite sufficient to fill a good many volumes. Nothing of importance, however, has been added to it, gainsaying what we now have as a truthful account of the bird's introduction into Europe. Indeed Buffon (Ois, II, pp. 132-162), Broderip (Zool. Recreat. pp. 120-137), Pennant (Arct. Zool. pp. 291-300), and others, practically cleared up nearly all the points on this part of the turkey's history, making but a few statements that are not wholly reliable and worthy of acceptance. Pennant very properly ignored in his work Barrington's essay (Miscellanies, pp. 127-151) in which the latter attempted to prove that turkeys were known before America was discovered, and that they were shipped over there subsequently to its discovery!

I have already cited above Pennant's article in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1781), and quoted from it to some extent. It is one of the standard writings on the wild turkey invariably referred to by all authors when writing on the history of that bird. As it is only accessible to the few, and so full of reliable information, I propose to give here, somewhat in full, those paragraphs in it having special reference to the historical side of our subject, and in doing so I retain the spelling and composition of the original production.

"Belon, ('Hist. des Oys.,' 248) the earliest of those writers," says Pennant, "who are of the opinion that these birds were natives of the old world, founds his notion on the description of the Guinea-fowl, the Meleagrides of Strabo, Athen?us, Pliny, and others of the ancients. I rest the refutation on the excellent account given by Athen?us, taken from Clytus Milesius, a disciple of Aristotle, which can suit no other than that fowl. 'They want,' says he, 'natural affection towards their young; their head is naked, and on the top is a hard round body like a peg or nail; from their cheeks hangs a red piece of flesh like a beard. It has no wattles like the common poultry. The feathers are black, spotted with white. They have no spurs; and both sexes are so alike as not to be distinguished by the sight.' Varro (Lib. III. c. 9.) and Pliny (Lib. X. c. 26) take notice of the spotted plumage and the gibbous substance on the head. Athen?us is more minute, and contradicts every character of the Turkey, whose females are remarkable for their natural affection, and differ materially in form from the males, whose heads are destitute of the callous substance, and whose heels (in the males) are armed with spurs."

"Aldrovandus, who died in 1605, draws his arguments from the same source as Belon; I therefore pass him by, and take notice of the greatest of our naturalists Gesner (Av. 481.), who falls into a mistake of another kind, and wishes the Turkey to be thought a native of India. He quotes ?lian for that purpose, who tells us, 'That in India are very large poultry not with combs, but with various coloured crests interwoven like flowers, with broad tails either bending or displayed in a circular form, which they draw along the ground as peacocks do when they do not erect them; and that the feathers are partly of a gold colour, partly blue, and of an emerald colour.' (De Anim. lib. XVI, c. 2.).

"This in all probability was the same bird with the Peacock Pheasant of Mr. Edwards, Le Baron de Tibet of M. Brisson, and the Pavo bicalcaratus of Linn?us. I have seen this bird living. It has a crest, but not so conspicuous as that described by ?lian; but it has not those striking colours in form of eyes, neither does it erect its tail like the Peacock (Edw. II. 67.), but trails it like the Pheasant. The Catreus of Strabo (Lib. XV. p. 1046) seems to be the same bird. He describes it as uncommonly beautiful and spotted, and very like a Peacock. The former author (De Anim. lib. XVII, c. 23.) gives more minute account of this species, and under the same name. He borrows it from Clitarchus, an attendant of Alexander the Great in all his conquests. It is evident from his description that it was of this kind; and it is likewise probable that it was the same with his large Indian poultry before cited. He celebrates it also for its fine note; but allowance must be made for the credulity of ?lian.

"The Catreus, or Peacock Pheasant, is a native of Tibet, and in all probability of the north of India, where Clitarchus might have observed it; for the march of Alexander was through that part which borders on Tibet, and is now known by the name of Penj-ab or five rivers."

"I shall now collect from authors the several parts of the world where Turkies are unknown in the state of nature. Europe has no share in the question; it being generally agreed that they are exotic in respect to that continent."

"Neither are they found in any part of Asia Minor, or the Asiatic Turkey, notwithstanding ignorance of their true origin first caused them to be named from that empire. About Aleppo, capital of Syria, they are only met with, domesticated like other poultry. (Russel, 63). In Armenia they are unknown, as well as in Persia; having been brought from Venice by some Armenian merchants into that empire (Tavernier, 145), where they are still so scarce as to be preserved among other rare fowls in the royal menagery" (Bell's Travels, I. 128).

"Du Halde acquaints us that they are not natives of China; but were introduced there from other countries. He errs from misinformation in saying that they are common in India."

"I will not quote Gemelli Careri, to prove that they are not found in the Philippine Islands, because that gentleman with his pen traveled round the world in his easy chair, during a very long indisposition and confinement, (Sir James Porter's Obs. Turkey, I, 1, 321), in his native country."

"But Dampier bears witness that none are found in Mindanao" (Barbot in Churchill's Coll., V. 29).

"The hot climate of Africa barely suffers these birds to exist in that vast continent, except under the care of mankind. Very few are found in Guinea, except in the hands of the Europeans, the negroes declining to breed any on account of the great heats (Bosman, 229). Prosper Alpinus satisfies us they are not found either in Nubia or in Egypt. He describes the Meleagrides of the ancients, and only proves that the Guinea hens were brought out of Nubia, and sold at a great price at Cairo (Hist. Nat. ?gypti. I, 201); but is totally silent about the turkey of the moderns."

"Let me in this place observe that the Guinea hens have long been imported into Britain. They were cultivated in our farm-yards; for I discover in 1277, in the Grainge of Clifton, in the parish of Ambrosden in Buckinghamshire, among other articles, six Mutilones and six African? f?min? (Kennett's Parochial Antiq. 287), for this fowl was familiarly known by the names of Afra Avis and Gallina Africana and Numida. It was introduced into Italy from Africa, and from Rome into our country. They were neglected here by reason of their tenderness and difficulty of rearing. We do not find them in the bills of fare of our ancient feasts (neither in that of George Nevil nor among the delicacies mentioned in the Northumberland household book begun in the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII); neither do we find the turkey; which last argument amounts almost to a certainty, that such a hardy and princely bird had not found its way to us. The other likewise was then known by its classical name; for that judicious writer Doctor Caius describes in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, the Guinea-fowl, for the benefit of his friend Gesner, under the name of Meleagris, bestowed on it by Aristotle" (CAII Opusc. 13. Hist. An., lib. VI. c. 2).

"Having denied, on the very best authorities, that the Turkey ever existed as a native of the old world, I must now bring my proofs of its being only a native of the new, and of the period in which it first made its appearance in Europe."

"The next who speaks of them as natives of the mainland of the warmer parts of America is Francusco Fernandez, sent there by Philip II, to whom he was physician. This naturalist observed them in Mexico. We find by him that the name of the male was Huexolotl, of the female Cihuatotolin. He gives them the title of Gallus Indicus and Gallo Pavo. The Indians, as well as the Spaniards, domesticated these useful birds. He speaks of the size by comparison, saying that the wild were twice the magnitude of the tame; and that they were shot with arrows or guns (Hist. Av. Nov. Hisp. 27). I cannot learn the time when Fernandez wrote. It must be between the years 1555 and 1598, the period of Philip's reign."

"Pedro de Ciesa mentions Turkies on the Isthmus of Darien (Seventeen Years Travels, 20). Lery, a Portuguese author, asserts that they are found in Brazil, and gives them an Indian name (In De Laet's Descr. des Indes, 491); but since I can discover no traces of them in that diligent and excellent naturalist Marcgrave, who resided long in that country, I must deny my assent. But the former is confirmed by that able and honest navigator Dampier, who saw them frequently, as well wild as tame, in the province of Yucatan (Voyages, Vol II, part II, pp. 65, 85, 114), now reckoned part of the Kingdom of Mexico."

"In North America they were observed by the very first discoverers. When Rene de Landonniere, patronized by Admiral Coligni, attempted to form a settlement near where Charlestown now stands, he met with them on his first landing in 1564, and by his historian has represented them with great fidelity in the fifth plate of the recital of his voyage (Debry): from his time the witnesses to their being natives of the continent are innumerable. They have been seen in flocks of hundreds in all parts from Louisiana even to Canada; but at this time are extremely rare in a wild state, except in the more distant parts, where they are still found in vast abundance."

"It was from Mexico or Yucatan that they were first introduced into Europe; for it is certain that they were imported into England as early as the year 1524, the 15th of Henry VIII. (Baker's Chr. Anderson's Dict., Com. 1, 354. Hackluyt, II, 165, makes their introduction about the year 1532. Barnaby Googe, one of our early writers on Husbandry, says they were not seen here before 1530. He highly commends a Lady Hales of Kent for her excellent management of these fowl, p. 166.)

"We probably received them from Spain, with which we had great intercourse till about that time. They were most successfully cultivated in our Kingdom from that period; insomuch that they grew common in every farm-yard, and became even a dish in our rural feasts by the year 1585; for we may certainly depend on the word of old Tusser in his Account of the Christmas Husbandrie Fare." (Five Hundred Points of good Husbandrie, p. 57.)

"Beefe, Mutton, and Porke, shredpiece of the best,

Pig, Veale, Goose, and Capon, and Turkie well drest,

Cheese, Apples and Nuts, jolie carols to heare,

As then in the countrie, is counted good cheare."

"But at this very time they were so rare in France, that we are told, that the very first which was eaten in that Kingdom appeared at the nuptial feast of Charles IX. in 1570 (Anderson's Dict. Com. 1, 410)."[17]

Plate III

Fig. II. Left lateral view of the skull of an old male wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). See Plate II, Fig. 6, No. 9695, Coll. U. S. National Museum. Photo natural size by Dr. Shufeldt. pmx, premaxillary; n, nasal bone; l, lacrymal bone; eth, ethmoid; p, parietal; so, supraoccipital; pl, palatine; ju, jugal; ty, tympanic; q, quadrate; a, angular of lower jaw; d, dentary. There are many more bones in the skull than those indicated, while the latter serve to invite attention to the principal ones as landmarks.

A little later on Bartram in his travels in the South published some notes on the wild turkey [now M. g. osceola] as he found them in Florida during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The original edition of his book, which I have not seen, appeared in 1791. I have, however, examined the edition of 1793, wherein on page 14 he says: "Our turkey of America is a very different species from the Meleagris of Asia and Europe; they are nearly thrice their size and weight. I have seen several that have weighed between twenty and thirty pounds, and some have been killed that have weighed near forty."

And further on in the same work he adds [Florida, p. 81]: "Having rested very well during the night, I was awakened in the morning early by the cheering converse of the wild turkey-cocks (Meleagris occidentalis) saluting each other from the sun-brightened tops of the lofty Cupressus disticha and Magnolia grandiflora. They begin at early dawn and continue till sunrise, from March to the last of April. The high forests ring with the noise, like the crowing of the domestic cock, of these social sentinels; the watchword being caught and repeated, from one to another, for hundreds of miles around, insomuch that the whole country is for an hour or more in a universal shout. A little after sunrise, their crowing gradually ceases, they quit then their high lodging places, and alight on the earth, where, expanding their silver-bordered train, they strut and dance round about the coy female, while the deep forests seem to tremble with their shrill noise."[18]

Another of the early writers (1806), who paid some attention to the history and distribution of the wild turkeys was Barton. I find the following having reference to some of his observations, viz.: "A memoir has been read before the American Philosophical Society in which the author has shown that at least two distinct species of Meleagris, or turkey, are known within the limits of North America. These are the Meleagris gallopavo, or Common Domesticated Turkey, which was wholly unknown in the countries of the Old World before the discovery of America; and the Common Wild Turkey of the United States, to which the author of the memoir has given the name Meleagris Palawa-one of its Indian names.

"The same author has rendered it very probable that this latter species was domesticated by some of the Indian tribes living within the present limits of the United States, before these tribes had been visited by the Europeans. It is certain, however, that the turkey was not domesticated by the generality of the tribes, within the limits just mentioned, until after the Europeans had taken possession of the countries of North America."[19]

Nine or ten years after Barton wrote, De Witt Clinton, who was a candidate for President of the United States in 1812, and a son of James Clinton, was one of the writers of that time on the wild turkey. He pointed out how birds, the turkey included, change their plumage after domestication, and, after giving what he knew of the introduction of the turkey into Spain from America and the West Indies, he adds: "From the Spanish turkey, which was thus spread over Europe, we have obtained our domestic one. The wild turkey has been frequently tamed, and his offspring is of a large size." (p. 126.)[20]

Nearly a quarter of a century after Clinton's article appeared, the anatomy of the wild turkey began to attract some attention. Among the first articles to appear on this part of the subject was one by the late Sir Richard Owen, who, apparently taking the similarity of the vernacular names into account, made anatomical comparisons of the organs of smell in the turkey and the turkey buzzard. Naturally, he found them very different,-quite as different, perhaps, as are the olfactory organs of an owl and an ostrich, which I, for one, would not undertake to make a comparison of for publication, simply for the fact that in both these birds their vernacular name begins with the letter o.[21]

Even twenty years after this paper appeared there were those who still entertained doubts as to the origin of the domesticated turkeys, and believed that they had nothing to do with the wild forms. Among the doubters, no one was more prominent than Le Conte, who published the following as his opinion at the time, stating: "The conviction that these two birds were really distinct species has long existed in my mind. More than fifty years ago, when I first saw a Wild Turkey, I was led to conclude that one never could have been produced from the other." [Bases it on differences of external characters] (p. 179), adding toward the close of his article: "I defy anyone to show a Turkey, even of the first generation, produced from a pair hatched from the eggs of a wild hen," etc. "I repeat, contrary to the assertions of many others, that no one has ever succeeded in domesticating our Wild Turkey," etc. "Thoroughly believe that the tame and wild bird are different species, and the latter not the ancestor of the tame one." (p. 181.)[22]

During the year 1856, the papers Gould published on the wild turkeys attracted considerable attention, and they have been widely quoted since. In one of his first papers on the subject he quotes from Martin the same paragraph which Baird quoted in his article in the Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture (1866 antea), while Baird in his article misquotes Gould by saying that the turkey was introduced into England in 1541; whereas Gould states the introduction took place in 1524.[23]

Before passing to the more recent literature on these birds, and what I will have to say further on about their comparative osteology and their eggs, it will be as well to reproduce here a few more statements made by Bennett, whose work, "The Gardens and Menagerie of the Zo?logical Society Delineated," I have already quoted.[24]

Bennett was also of the opinion that "Daines Barrington was the last writer of any note who denied the American origin of the turkey, and he seems to have been actuated more by a love of paradox than by any conviction of the truth of his theory. Since the publication of his Miscellanies, in 1781, the knowledge that has been obtained of the existence of large flocks of turkeys, perfectly wild, clothed in their natural plumage, and displaying their native habits, spread over a large portion of North America, together with the certainty of their non-existence in a similar state in any other part of the globe, have been admitted on all hands to be decisive of the question." (p. 210).

I have already cited the evidence above to prove that it was Oviedo who first published an accurate description of the wild turkey,-his work being published at Toledo in about the year 1526, at which time the turkey had already become domesticated. In other words, it was the Spaniards who first reduced the bird to a state of domestication, and very soon thereafter it was introduced into England. Spain and England were the great maritime nations of those times, and this fact will amply account for the early introduction of the bird into the latter country. Singularly enough, however, we have no account of any kind whatever through which we can trace the exact time when this took place. As others have suggested, it is just possible that it may have been Cabot, the explorer of the then recently discovered coasts of America, who first transported wild turkeys into England. Baker quotes the popular rhyme in his Chronicle:

"Turkeys, carps, hoppes, picarel and beer,

Came into England all in one year,"

that is, about 1524, or the 15th of the reign of Henry VIII.[25]

What was said by the German author Heresbach was translated by a writer on agricultural subjects, Barnaby Googe, who published it in his work. This appeared in the year 1614, and he refers to "those outlandish birds called Ginny-Cocks and Turkey-Cocks," stating that "before the yeare of our Lord 1530 they were not seene with us!"

Further, Bennett points out that "A more positive authority is Hakluyt, who in certain instructions given by him to a friend at Constantinople, bearing date of 1582, mentions, among other valuable things introduced into England from foreign parts, 'Turkey-Cocks and hennes' as having been brought in 'about fifty years past.' We may therefore fairly conclude that they became known in this country about the year 1530."[26]

Guinea-fowls were extremely rare in England throughout the sixteenth century, while tame turkeys became very abundant there, forming by no means an expensive dish at festivals,-the first were obtained from the Levant, while the latter were to be found in poultry yards nearly everywhere. In one of the Constitutions of Archbishop Cranmer it was ordered that of fowls as large as swans, cranes, and turkey-cocks, "there should be but one in a dish."[27]

When in 1555 the serjeants-at-law were created, they provided for their inauguration dinner two turkeys and four turkey chicks at a cost each of only four shillings, swans and cranes being ten, and half a crown each for capons. At this rate, turkeys could not have been so very scarce in those parts.[28] "Indeed they had become so plentiful in 1573," continues Bennett, "that honest Tusser, in his 'Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie,'" enumerates them among the usual Christmas fare at a farmer's table, and speaks of them as "ill neighbors" both to "peason" and to hops. (pp. 212, 213.)

"A Frenchman named Pierre Gilles has the credit of having first described the turkey in this quarter of the globe, in his additions to a Latin translation of ?lian, published by him in 1535. His description is so true to nature as to have been almost wholly relied on by every subsequent writer down to Willoughby. He speaks of it as a bird that he has seen; and he had not then been further from his native country than Venice; and states it to have been brought from the New World.

"That turkeys were known in France at this period is further proved by a passage in Champier's 'Treatise de Re Cibaria,' published in 1560, and said to have been written thirty years before. This author also speaks of them as having been brought but a few years back from the newly discovered Indian islands. From this time forward their origin seems to have been entirely forgotten, and for the next two centuries we meet with little else in the writings of ornithologists concerning them than an accumulation of citations from the ancients, which bear no manner of relation to them. In the year 1566 a present of twelve turkeys was thought not unworthy of being offered by the municipality of Amiens to their king, at whose marriage, in 1570, Anderson states in his History of Commerce, but we know not on what authority, they were first eaten in France. Heresbach, as we have seen, asserts that they were introduced into Germany about 1530; and that a sumptuary law made at Venice in 1557, quoted by Zanoni, particularizes the tables at which they were permitted to be served.

"So ungrateful are mankind for the most important benefits that not even a traditionary vestige remains of the men by whom, or the country from whence, this most usefu

l bird was introduced into any European states. Little therefore is gained from its early history beyond the mere proof of the rapidity with which the process of domestication may sometimes be effected." (pp. 213, 214.)

Some ten or more years ago, at a time when I was the natural history editor of Shooting and Fishing, in New York City, I published a number of criticisms and original articles upon turkeys, both the wild and domesticated forms.[29]

About twelve years ago, Mr. Nelson contributed a very valuable article on wild turkeys, portions of which are eminently worthy of the space here required to quote them.[30] He says among other things in this article that "All recent ornithologists have considered the wild turkey of Mexico and the southwestern United States (aside from M. gallopavo intermedia) as the ancestor of the domesticated bird. This idea is certainly erroneous, as is shown by the series of specimens now in the collection of the Biological Survey. When the Spaniards first entered Mexico they landed near the present city of Vera Cruz and made their way thence to the City of Mexico.

Plate IV

Fig. 12. Superior view of the cranium of a large male tame turkey, with right nasal bone (n) attached in situ. Specimen in Dr. Shufeldt's private collection. Fig. 13. Left lateral view of the skull of a female turkey, probably a wild one. No. 19684, Coll. U. S. National Museum. (See Fig. 8, Pl. II.) e, bony entrance to ear. Compare contour line of cranium with Fig. 14. Fig. 14. Left lateral view of the cranium of a tame turkey; male. Dr. Shufeldt's private collection. Fig. 15. Direct posterior view of the cranium of a tame turkey, probably a female. pf, postfrontal. Specimen in Dr. Shufeldt's collection. Fig. 16. Skull of a wild Florida turkey, seen from below (M. g. osceola). (See Fig. 10, Pl. II.) Bones named in Fig. 18. Photo natural size by Dr. Shufeldt and considerably reduced.

"At this time they found domesticated turkeys among the Indians of that region, and within a few years the birds were introduced into Spain.[31]

"The part of the country occupied by the Spanish during the first few years of the conquest in which wild turkeys occur is the eastern slope of the Cordillera in Vera Cruz, and there is every reason to suppose that this must have been the original home of the birds domesticated by the natives of that region.

"Gould's description of the type of M. mexicana is not sufficiently detailed to determine the exact character of this bird, but fortunately the type was figured in Elliot's "Birds of North America."... In addition Gould's type apparently served for the description of the adult male M. gallopavo in the 'Catalogue of Birds Brit. Mus.' (xxii, p. 387), and an adult female is described in the same volume from Ciudad Ranch Durango.... Thus it will become necessary to treat M. gallopavo and M. mexicana as at least subspecifically distinct. Whatever may be the relationship of M. mexicana to M. gallopavo, the M. g. merriami is easily separable from M. g. mexicana of the Sierra Madre of western Mexico, from Chihuahua to Colima. Birds from northern Chihuahua are intermediate."

In this article Mr. Nelson names M. g. merriami and gives full descriptions of the adult male and female in winter plumage.

What has thus far been presented above on the first discovery of the American wild turkeys, their natural history in the New World, their introduction into Spain, England, France, and elsewhere, is practically all we have on this part of our subject up to date. What I have given is from the very best ornithological and other authorities. Domesticated turkeys are now found in nearly all parts of the world, while in only a very few instances has any record been kept of the different times of their introduction. With the view of accumulating such data, one would have to search the histories of all the countries of all the civilized and semi-civilized peoples of the world, which would be the labor of almost a man's entire lifetime, and in only too many instances his search would be in vain, for the several records of the times of introducing these birds were not made.

Apart from the description of the wild turkeys, there is still a very large literature devoted to the domesticated forms of turkeys as they occur in this country and abroad, as well as descriptions of their eggs. I have gone over a large part of this literature, but shall be able to use only a small, though nevertheless essential, part of it here. This I shall complete with an account of turkey eggs, which will be presented quite apart from anything to do with their nests, nesting habits, and much else which will be fully treated in other chapters of this book. In some works we meet with the literature of all these subjects together, others have only a part, while still others are confined to one thing, as the eggs.[32] Darwin in his works paid considerable attention to the wild and tame turkeys. He states that "Professor Baird believes (as quoted in Tegetmeier's 'Poultry Book,' 1866, p. 269) that our turkeys are descended from a West Indian species, now extinct. But besides the improbability of a bird having long ago become extinct in these large and luxuriant islands, it appears, as we shall presently see, that the turkey degenerates in India, and this fact indicates that this was not aboriginally an inhabitant of the lowlands of the tropics.

"F. Michaux," he further points out, "suspected in 1802 that the common domestic turkey was not descended from the United States species alone, but was likewise from a southern form, and he went so far as to believe that English and French turkeys differed from having different proportions of the blood of the two parent-forms.[33]

"English turkeys are smaller than either wild form. They have not varied in any great degree; but there are some breeds which can be distinguished-as Norfolks, Suffolks, Whites, and Copper-Coloured (or Cambridge), all of which, if precluded from crossing with other breeds, propagate their kind truly. Of these kinds, the most distinct is the small, hardy, dull-black Norfolk turkey, of which the chickens are black, with occasionally white patches about the head. The other breeds scarcely differ except in colour, and their chickens are generally mottled all over with brownish-grey.[34]

"In Holland there was formerly, according to Temminick, a beautiful buff-yellow breed, furnished with an ample white topknot. Mr. Wilmot has described a white turkey-cock with a crest formed of 'feathers about four inches long, with bare quills, and a tuft of soft down growing at the end.'[35] Many of the young birds whilst young inherited this kind of crest, but afterwards it either fell off or was pecked out by the other birds. This is an interesting case, as with care a new breed might probably have been formed; and a topknot of this nature would have been, to a certain extent, analogous to that borne by the males in several allied genera, such as Euplocomus, Lophophorus, and Pavo."[36]

Darwin has further pointed out that "The tuft of hair on the breast of the wild turkey-cock cannot be of any use, and it is doubtful whether it can be ornamental in the eyes of the female birds; indeed, had the tuft appeared under domestication, it would have been called a monstrosity.

"The naked skin on the head of a vulture is generally considered as a direct adaptation for wallowing in putridity; and so it may be, or it may possibly be due to the direct action of putrid matter; but we should be very cautious in drawing any such inference, when we see that the skin on the head of the clean-feeding male turkey is likewise naked."[37]

Plate V

Fig. 17. Left lateral view of the skull, including lower jaw, of a wild turkey; probably a female. No. 19684, Coll. U. S. National Museum. (See Fig. 8, Pl. II, and Fig. 13.) ena, external narial aperture. Fig. 18. Skull of wild Florida turkey. (See Fig. 16.) pmx, premaxillary; l, lacrymal; pt, pterygoids; q, quadrate; c, occipital condyle; mxp, maxillo-palatine; pl, palatines. Fig. 19. Skeleton of the left foot of a wild turkey (female?) No. 19684, Coll. U. S. National Museum. Several views of the skull of this individual are given above. The shortest toe is the hind toe or hallux, and has a claw and a joint; then there are 3, 4, and 5 phalangeal joints to the second, third, and fourth toes respectively-that is in the inner, middle, and outer one. This count includes the distal or claw joints (ungual joints). All three figures photo natural size by Dr. Shufeldt and considerably reduced in reproduction.

Newton has pointed out that the topknotted turkeys were figured by Albin in 1738, and that it "has been suggested with some appearance of probability that the Norfolk breed may be descended from the northern form, Meleagris gallopavo or americana, while the Cambridgeshire breed may spring from the southern form the M. mexicana of Gould (P. Z. S. 1856, p. 61), which indeed it very much resembles, especially in having its tail-coverts and quills tipped with white or light ochreous-points that recent North American ornithologists rely upon as distinctive of this form. If this supposition be true, there would be reason to believe in the double introduction of the bird into England at least, as already hinted, but positive information is almost wholly wanting." (Ibid., p. 996.).

It is an interesting fact that the males of both the wild and tame forms of turkeys frequently lack spurs;[38] and Henshaw has pointed out that in the case of M. g. merriami "A few of the gobblers had spurs; in one instance these took the form of a blunt, rounded knob half an inch long. In others, however, it was much reduced, and in others still the spur was wanting; though my impression is that all the old males had this weapon."[39]

One of the best articles which have been contributed to the present part of our subject, appeared several years ago from the pen of that very excellent naturalist, the late Judge Caton of Chicago. This contribution is rather a long one, and I shall only select such paragraphs from it as are of special value in the present connection.[40]

It is a well-known fact that the author of this work made a long series of observations on wild turkeys which he kept in confinement. He raised many from the eggs of the wild turkey taken in nature and hatched out by the common hen on his own preserves. At one time he had as many as sixty such birds, and he lost no opportunity to study their habits. They were of the pure stock with all their characters as in the wild form. These turkeys became very tame when thus raised from the eggs of the wild birds, and they did not deteriorate, either in size or in their power of reproduction. "This magnificent game bird," says Caton, "was never a native of the Pacific Coast. I have at various times sent in all about forty to California, in the hope that it may be acclimatized in the forests. Their numerous enemies have thus far prevented success in this direction, but they have done reasonably well in domestication, and Captain Rodgers of the United States Coast Survey has met with remarkable success in hybridizing them with the domestic bronze turkey. Last spring I sent some which were placed on Santa Clara Island, off Santa Barbara. They remained contentedly about the ranch building and, as I am informed, raised three broods of young which are doing well. As there is nothing on the island more dangerous to them than a very small species of fox, we may well hope that they will in a few years stock the whole island, which is many miles in extent. As the island is uninhabited except by the shepherds who tend the immense flocks of sheep there, they will soon revert to the wild state, when I have no doubt they will resume markings as constant as is observed in the wild bird here, but I shall be disappointed if the changed condition of life does not produce a change of color or in the shades of color, which would induce one unacquainted with their history to pronounce them specifically different from their wild ancestors here. Results will be watched with interest.

"My experiments in crossing the wild with the tame have been eminently successful." (Followed by a long account, p. 329.)

"My experiments establish first that the turkey may be domesticated, and that each succeeding generation bred in domestication loses something of the wild disposition of its ancestors.

"Second, that the wild turkey bred in domestication changes its form and the color of its plumage and of its legs, each succeeding generation degenerating more and more from these brilliant colors which are so constant on the wild turkey of the forest, so that it is simply a question of time-and indeed a very short time-when they will lose all of their native wildness and become clothed in all the varied colors of the common domestic turkey; in fact be like our domestic turkey,-yes, be our domestic turkey.

"Third, that the wild turkey and the domestic turkey as freely interbred as either does with its own variety, showing not the least sexual aversion always observed between animals of different species of the same genus, and that the hybrid progeny is as vigorous, as robust, and fertile as was either parent.

"It must be already apparent that I, at least, have no doubt that our common domestic turkey is a direct descendant of the wild turkey of our forests, and that therefore there is no specific difference between them. If such marked changes in the wild turkey occur by only ten years of domestication, all directly tending to the form, habits, and colorings of the domestic turkey,-in all things which distinguish the domestic from the wild turkey,-what might we not expect from fifty or a hundred years of domestication? I know that the best ornithological authority at the present time declares them to be of a different species, but I submit that this is a question which should be reconsidered in the light of indisputable facts which were not admitted or established at the time such decision was made.

"There has always been diffused among the domestic turkeys of the frontiers more or less of the blood of the wild turkey of the neighboring forests, and as the wild turkey has been driven back by the settlement of the country, the domestic turkey has gradually lost the markings which told of the presence of the wild; though judicious breeding has preserved and rendered more or less constant some of this evidence in what is called the domestic bronze turkey, as the red leg and the tawny shade dashed upon the white terminals of the tail feathers and the tail-coverts, the better should the stock be considered, because it is the more like its wild ancestor.

"That the domestic turkey in its neighborhood may be descended from or largely interbred with the wild turkey of New Mexico, which in its wild state more resembles the common domestic turkey than our wild turkey does, may unquestionably be true, and it may be also that the wild turkey there has a large infusion of the tame blood, for it is known that not only our domestic turkey, but even our barnyard fowls, relapse to the wild state in a single generation when they are reared in the woods and entirely away from the influence of man, gradually assuming uniform and constant colorings. But I will not discuss the question whether the Mexican wild turkey is of a different species from ours or merely a variety of the same species, only with differences in color which have arisen from accidental causes, and certainly I will not question that the Mexican turkey is the parent of many domestic turkeys, but I cannot resist the conclusion that our wild turkey is the progenitor of our domestic turkey."

We have now come to where we can study the eggs of these birds, and in the same article I have just quoted so extensively from, Judge Caton says on page 324 of it, "The eggs of the wild turkey vary much in coloring and somewhat in form, but in general are so like those of the tame turkey that no one can select one from the other. The ground color is white, over which are scattered reddish-brown specks. These differ in shades of color, but much more in numbers. I have seen some on which scarcely any specks could be detected, while others were profusely covered with specks, all laid by the same hen in the same nest. The turkey eggs are more pointed than those of the goose or the barnyard fowl, and are much smaller in proportion to the size of the bird."

This, in the main, is a fair description of the eggs of Meleagris, while at the same time it may be said that the ground color is not always "white," nor the markings exactly what might be denominated "specks."

Turkey eggs of all kinds, laid by hens of the wild as well as by those of the domesticated birds, have been described and figured in a great many popular and technically scientific books and other works, in this country as well as abroad. A large part of this literature I have examined, but I soon became convinced of the fact that no general description would begin to stand for the different kinds of eggs that turkeys lay. They not only differ in size, form, and markings, but in ground colors, numbers to the clutch, and some other particulars. Then it is true that no wild turkey hen, of any of the known subspecies or species of this country, has ever laid an egg but what some hen of the domestic breeds somewhere has not laid one practically exactly like it in all particulars. In other words, the eggs of our various breeds of tame turkeys are like the eggs of the several forms of the wild bird, that is, the subspecies known to science in the United States avifauna. Therefore I have not thought it necessary to present here any descriptions of the eggs of the tame turkeys or reproductions of photographs of the same.

Among the most beautiful of the wild turkey eggs published are those which appear in Major Bendire's work. They were drawn and painted by Mr. John L. Ridgway of the United States Geological Survey.[41] These very eggs I have not only examined, studied and compared, but, thanks to Dr. Richmond of the Division of Birds of the Museum, and to Mr. J. H. Riley, his assistant, I had such specimens as I needed loaned me from the general collection of the Museum, in that I might photograph them for use in the present connection. Dr. Richmond did me a special kindness in selecting for my study the four eggs here reproduced from my photograph of them in Plate VI. These are all of M. g. silvestris.

Of these, figures 20 and 21 are from the same clutch, and doubtless laid by the same bird. (Nos. 30014, 30014.) They were collected by J. H. Riley at Falls Church, Va. Figure 20 is an egg measuring 66 mm. x 45 mm., the color being a pale buffy-brown, finely and nearly evenly speckled all over with umber-brown, with very minute specks to dots measuring a millimetre in diameter. The finest speckling, with no larger spots, is at the greater end (butt) for a third of the egg.

Plate VI

Eggs of wild turkey (M. g. silvestris)

Names and descriptions given in the text. All the specimens photo natural size by Dr. Shufeldt and somewhat reduced in reproduction. Fig. 20. Upper left-hand one. Fig. 21. Upper right-hand one. Fig. 22. Lower left-hand one. Fig. 23. Lower right-hand one.

Figure 21 measures 63 mm. x 45 mm., the ground color being a pale cream, speckled somewhat thickly and uniformly all over with fine specks of light brown and lavender, with larger spots and ocellated marks of lavender moderately abundant over the middle and the apical thirds, with none about the larger end or remaining third. Figure 22 (Plate VI) is No. 31185 of the collection of the U. S. National Museum (ex Ralph Coll.); it was collected at Bridgeport, Michigan, by Allan Herbert (376, 4700, '77) and measures 68 x 46. It is of a rather deep buffy-brown or ochre, very thickly and quite uniformly speckled all over with more or less minute specks of dark brown.

Figure 23 was collected by H. R. Caldwell (91310), the locality being unrecorded (Coll. U. S. Nat. Museum, No. 32407), and measures 63 x 48. It is of a pale buffy-brown or pale café au lait color, quite thickly speckled all over with fine dots and specks of light brown. Some few of the specks are of noticeably larger size, and these are confined to the middle and apical thirds. Speckling of the butt or big end extremely fine, and the specks of lighter color.

Referring to the wild turkey (M. g. silvestris) Bendire says (loc. cit., p. 116): "In shape, the eggs of the Wild Turkey are usually ovate, occasionally they are elongate ovate. The ground color varies from pale creamy white to creamy buff. They are more or less heavily marked with well-defined spots and dots of pale chocolate and reddish brown. In an occasional set these spots are pale lavender. Generally the markings are all small, ranging in size from a No. 6 shot to that of dust shot, but an exceptional set is sometimes heavily covered with both spots and blotches of the size of buckshot, and even larger. The majority of eggs of this species in the U. S. National Museum collection, and such as I have examined elsewhere, resemble in coloration the figured type of M. gallopavo mexicanus, but average, as a rule, somewhat smaller in size.

"The average measurement of thirty-eight eggs in the U. S. National Museum collection is 61.5 by 46.5 millimetres. The largest egg measures 68.5 by 46, the smallest 59 by 45 millimetres."

At the close of his account of M. g. mexicanus Bendire states that "The only eggs of this species in the U. S. National Museum collection, about whose identity there can be no possible doubt, were collected on Upper Lynx Creek, Arizona, in the spring of 1870, by Dr. E. Palmer, whose name is well known as one of the pioneer naturalists of that Territory.

"The eggs are ovate in shape, their ground color is creamy white, and they are profusely dotted with fine spots of reddish brown, pretty evenly distributed over the entire egg. The average measurements of these eggs is 69 by 49 millimetres. The largest measures 70.5 by 49, the smallest 67 by 48 millimetres.

"The type specimen (No. 15573, U. S. National Museum collection, Pl. 3, Fig. 15) is one of the set referred to above" (loc. cit. p. 119).

This set of three eggs I have personally studied; they are of M. g. merriami, and I find them to agree exactly with Captain Bendire's description just quoted.[42]

In the Ralph Collection (U. S. Nat. Mus. No. 27232; orig. No. 10/6) I examined six (6) eggs of M. g. intermedia. They are of a pale ground color, all being uniformly speckled over with minute dots of lightish brown. These eggs are rather large for turkey eggs. They were collected at Brownsville, Texas, May 26, 1894.

Another set of M. g. intermedia collected by F. B. Armstrong (No. 25765, coll. U. S. Nat. Mus.) are practically unspotted, and such spots as are to be found are very faint, both the minute and the somewhat large ones.

In Dr. Ralph's collection (U. S. Nat. Mus. No. 27080) eggs of M. g. intermedia are short, with the large and fine dots of a pale orange yellow. I examined a number of eggs and sets of eggs of M. g. osceola, or Florida turkey. In No. 25787 the eggs are short and broad, the ground color being pale whitish, slightly tinged with brown. Some of the spots on these eggs are unusually large, in a few places, three or four running together, or are more or less confluent; others are isolated and of medium size; many are minute, all being of an earth brown, varying in shades. In the case of No. 25787 of this set, the dark-brown spots are more or less of a size and fewer in number; while one of them (No. 25787) is exactly like the egg of Plate VI, Fig. 22; finally, there is a pale one (No. 25787) with fine spots, few in number in middle third, very numerous at the ends. There are scattered large spots of a dark brown, the surface of each of which latter are raised with a kind of incrustation. Another egg (No. 27869) in the same tray (M. g. osceola) is small, pointed; pale ground color with very fine spots of light brown (coll. W. L. Ralph). Still another in this set (No. 27868) is markedly roundish, with minute brown speckling uniformly distributed. There are nine (9) eggs in this clutch (No. 27868), and apart from the differences in form, they all closely resemble each other; and this is by no means always the case, as the same hen may lay any of the various styles enumerated above, either as belonging to the same clutch, or at different seasons.

As it is not the plan of the author of the present work to touch, in this chapter, upon the general habits of wild turkeys-their courtship, their incubation, the young at various stages, nesting sites, and a great deal more having to do with the natural history of the family and the forms contained in it-it would seem that what has been set forth above in regard to the eggs of the several subspecies in our avifauna pretty thoroughly covers this part of the subject.

Shortly after the last paragraph was completed I received a valuable photograph of the nest and eggs of M. g. merriami, and this I desire to publish here with a few notes, although in so doing it constitutes a departure from what I have just stated above in regard to the nests of turkeys.

This photograph was kindly furnished me by my friend Mr. F. Stephens of the Society of Natural History of San Diego, California, with permission to use it in the present connection. It has not to my knowledge been published before, though the existence of the negative from which it was printed has been made known to ornithologists by Major Bendire, who says, in his account of the "Mexican Turkey" in his Life Histories of North American Birds (loc. cit. p. 118): "That well-known ornithologist and collector, Mr. F. Stephens, took a probably incomplete set of nine fresh eggs of this species, on June 15th, 1884. He writes me: 'I was encamped about five miles south of Craterville, on the east side of the Santa Rita Mountains in Arizona; the nest was shown to my assistant by a charcoal burner. On his approach to it the bird ran off or flew before he got within good range. He did not disturb it but came to camp, and in the afternoon we both went, and I took my little camera along and photographed it. The bird did not show up again. The locality was on the east slope of the Santa Rita Mountains, in the oak timber, just where the first scattering pines commenced, at an altitude of perhaps 5000 feet.'

"A good photograph, kindly sent me by Mr. Stephens, shows the nest and eggs plainly. It was placed close to the trunk of an oak tree on a hillside, near which a good-size yucca grew, covering, apparently, a part of the nest; the hollow in which the eggs were placed was about 12 inches across and 3 inches deep. Judging from the photograph the nest was fairly well lined."

In order to complete my share of the work, I will now add here a few paragraphs and illustrations upon the skeletal differences to be found upon comparison of that part of the anatomy of wild and domesticated turkeys. This is a subject I wrote upon many years ago; what I then said I have just read over, and I find I can do no better than quote the part contained in the "Analytical Summary" of the work. It is more or less technical and therefore must be brief, though it is none the less necessary to complete the subject of the present treatise.[43]

1. As a rule, in adult specimens of M. g. merriami, the posterior margins of the nasal bones indistinguishably fuse with the frontals; whereas, as a rule, in domesticated turkeys these sutural traces persist with great distinctness throughout life.

2. As a rule, in wild turkeys we find the craniofrontal region more concaved and wider across than it is in the tame varieties.

3. The parietal prominences are apt to be more evident in M. g. merriami than they are in the vast majority of domesticated turkeys; and the median longitudinal line measured from these to the nearest point of the occipital ridge is longer in the tame varieties than it is in the wild birds. Generally speaking, this latter character is very striking and rarely departed from.

4. The figure formed by the line which bounds the occipital area is, as a rule, roughly semicircular in a domesticated turkey, whereas in M. g. merriami it is nearly always of a cordate outline, with the apex upward. In the case of the tame turkeys I have found it to average one exception to this in every twelve birds; in the exception, the bounding line of the area made a cordate figure as in wild turkeys.

5. Among the domesticated turkeys, the interorbital septum almost invariably is pierced by a large irregular vacuity; as a rule this osseous plate is entire in wild ones.

6. The descending process of a lacrymal bone is more apt to be longer in a wild turkey than in a tame one; and for the average the greater length is always in favor of the former species.

7. In M. g. merriami the arch of the superior margin of the orbit is more decided than it is in the tame turkey, where the arc formed by this line is shallowed, and not so elevated.

8. We find, as a rule, that the pterygoid bones are rather longer and more slender in wild turkeys than they are among the tame ones.

9. At the occipital region of the skull, the osseous structures are denser and thicker in the tame varieties of turkeys; and, as a whole, the skull is smoother, with its salient apophyses less pronounced in them than in the wild types. There is a certain delicacy and lightness, very difficult to describe, that stamps the skull of a wild turkey, and at once distinguishes it from any typical skull of a tame one.

10. I have predicted that the average size of the brain cavity will be found to be smaller and of less capacity in a tame turkey than it is in the wild one. In the case of this class of domesticated birds, as pointed out above, this would seem to be no more than natural, for the domestication of the turkey has not been of such a nature as to develop its brain mass through the influences of a species of education; its long contact with man has taught it nothing-quite the contrary, for the bird has been almost entirely relieved from the responsibilities of using its wits to obtain its food, or to guard against danger to itself. These factors are still in operation in the case of the wild types, and the advance of civilization has tended to sharpen them.

From this point of view, then, I would say that mentally the average wild turkey is stronger than the average domesticated one, and I believe it will be found that in all these long years the above influences have affected the size of the brain-mass of the latter species in the way above indicated, and perhaps it may be possible some day to appreciate this difference. Perhaps, too, there may have been also a slight tendency on the part of the brain of the wild turkey to increase in size, owing to the demands made upon its functions due to the influence of man's nearer approach, and the necessity of greater mental activity in consequence.

Recently I examined a mounted skeleton of a female wild turkey in the collection of the United States National Museum, and apart from the skull it presented the following characters: There were fifteen vertebr?, the last one having a pair of free ribs, before we arrived at the fused vertebr? of the dorsum. Of these latter there were three co?ssified into one piece.

The sixteenth vertebra supports a pair of free ribs that fail to meet the sternum, there being no costal ribs for them. They bear uncinate processes.

Next we find four pairs of ribs that articulate with h?mapophyses, and through them with the sternum. There are two free vertebr? between the consolidated dorsal ones and the pelvis; and the pelvis bears a pair of free ribs, the costal ribs of which articulate by their anterior ends with the posterior border of the pair of costal ribs in front of them.

A kind of long abutment exists at the middle point on each, there to accommodate the articulation. There are six free tail vertebr? plus a long pointed pygostyle. The os furcula is rather slender, being of a typical V-shaped pattern, with a small and straight hypocleidium. With a form much as we find it in the fowl, the pelvis is characterized by not having the ilia meet the sacral crista in front. The prepubis is short and stumpy. The external pair of xiphoidal processes of the sternum are peculiar in that their posterior ends are strongly bifurcated.

Plate VII

Fig. 24. Nest of a wild turkey in situ. (M. g. merriami.) Photo by Mr. F. Stephens, San Diego, California.

In the skeleton of the manus, the pollex metacarpal projects forward and upward as a rather conspicuous process. Its phalanx does not bear a claw, and on the index metacarpal the indicial process is present and overlaps the shaft of the next metacarpal behind it. In the leg the fibula is free, and extends halfway down the tibiotarsal shaft.

The hypotarsus of the tarso-metatarsus is grooved mesially for the passage of tendons behind, and is also once perforated near its middle for the same purpose. As I have already stated, the remainder of the skeleton of this bird is characteristically gallinaceous and need not detain us longer here. I would add, however, that the "tarsal cartilages" in the turkey extensively ossify.

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