Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development
Galton, Francis
Gregarious and Slavish Instincts 53 
would crowd so closely as to interfere with each other when 
grazing the scattered pasture of Damara land ; if less gre¬ 
garious, they would be too widely scattered to keep a 
sufficient watch against the wild beasts. 
I now proceed to consider more particularly why the 
range of deviation from the average is such that we find 
about one ox out of fifty to possess sufficient independence 
of character to serve as a pretty good fore-ox. Why is it 
not one in five or one in five hundred ? The reason un¬ 
doubtedly is that natural selection tends to give but one 
leader to each suitably-sized herd, and to repress super¬ 
abundant leaders. There is a certain size of herd most 
suitable to the geographical and other conditions of the 
country ; it must not be too large, or the scattered puddles 
which form their only rvatering-places for a great part of the 
year would not suffice ; and there are similar drawbacks in 
respect to pasture. It must not be too small, or it would be 
comparatively insecure ; thus a troop of five animals is far 
more easy to be approached by a stalking huntsman than 
one of twenty, and the latter than one of a hundred. We 
have seen that it is the oxen who graze apart, as well as 
those who lead the herd, who are recognised by the trainers 
of cattle as gifted with enough independence of character to 
become fore-oxen. They are even preferred to the actual 
leaders of the herd ; they dare to move more alone, and 
therefore their independence is undoubted. The leaders 
are safe enough from lions, because their flanks and rear 
are guarded by their followers ; but each of those who graze 
apart, and who represent the superabundant supply of self- 
reliant animals, have one flank and the rear exposed, and it 
is precisely these whom the lions take. Looking at the 
matter in a broad way, we may justly assert that wild beasts 
trim and prune every herd into compactness, and tend to 
reduce it into a closely-united body with a single well- 
protected leader. That the development of independence 
of character in cattle is thus suppressed below its otherwise 
natural standard by the influence of wild beasts, is shown 
by the greater display of self-reliance among cattle whose 
ancestry for some generations have not been exposed to 
such danger. 
What has been said about cattle, in relation to wild


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