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Societies and Academies

Nature volume 88, pages 337338 (04 January 1912) | Download Citation



DUBLIN. Royal Dublin Society, December 19, 1911.—Mr. R. Lloyd Praeger in the chair.—Prof. James Wilson: The inheritance of the dun coat-colour in horses. In a previous paper -the inheritance of coat-colour in horses-published in 1910 (Sc. Proc. Roy. Dublin Soc), it was shown that the ordinary colours fit into each other like a nest of Chinese boxes, chestnut being innermost, and then, coming in succession, black, bay, brown, dun, and grey and roan. The data concerning dun were few, and its position was merely suggested in a footnote. More data-500 to 600 cases-have since been collated, and these confirm the former placing. From this it follows that dun cannot be a “reversion,” since it can result orily from dun matings and occasionally from grey and roan. The author discussed the history of the idea that dun is a reversion. It probably originated in Lord Morton's quagga-crossing “experiments,” and in Dr. Macdonald's criticism of these (both published by the Royal Society). Hamilton Smith's theory that horses are descended from five original stripes did not require a reversion theory; but Darwin's theory, expressed tentatively, that horses are descended from a single dun-coloured and striped species, required one, and to him mainly are we indebted for the opinion that dun is a reversion. Darwin relied upon Lord Morton's description of the foals his chestnut mare bore after her quagga hybrid, and on three other cases. Lord Morton said that one of the chestnut mare's foals had a faint dun tint in two places, and Darwin called two of them “partially dun “-later writers have called them dun altogether. These foals, however, were ordinary bays, and the other three cases were undoubted misdescriptions. Data are collected in the present paper from various stud-books, and these are confirmed by the progeny of two homo-zygous dun sires which were stationed recently on Clare Island, on the coast of Mayo.—E. A. Newell Arber: Contributions to our knowledge of the floras of the Irish Carboniferous rocks. Part i.—The Lower Carboniferous (Carboniferous Limestone) flora of the Ballycastle Coalfield, Antrim. Of the seven species recorded from this coalfield, Adiantites antiquus (Ett.), Sphenopteris flabellata, Baily, Lepidodendron Veltheimi, Sternb., and L. Volk-mannianum, Sternb., are the more important. The evidence of the flora points to the conclusion that the coalfield is of Lower Carboniferous age, and that the rocks belong to the higher, or Carboniferous Limestone, horizon of the Lower Carboniferous.

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