a century, and as the number of the three flocks which inhabit the island is mainly kept down by the white-tailed eagle) the raven, and the black-backed gull, the Soay sheep may be said to have long lived under nearly natural conditions.[1]

Some years ago, General Pitt Rivers arrived at the conclusion that the slender-limbed race of sheep represented in Roman camps and Romano-British villages belonged to the same race as the Soay sheep.[2] Recently) Professor T. H. Bryce pointed out that some of the bones from the Roman forts on the Bar Hill exactly correspond with those of the Soay sheep,[3] and Mr. J. G. Millais, in his work on The Mammals of Great Britain, states that the Soay sheep may be the direct descendants of Ovis aries studeri of the Swiss Lake-dwellings.

By a comparative study of fossil, subfossil, and recent bones I have arrived at the same conclusion—that the sheep now living on the Island of Soay represent the large-horned race of Roman camps and Romano-British villages and the Swiss Lake-dwellings.

At the present day there are three kinds of true wild sheep, viz.: (1) the Mouflons (Europe and Asia), characterised by curved horns, a small shallow pit below the orbit for a face gland such as occurs in deer, arid by four interdigital glands; (2) the Urials (Asia), characterised by curved horns, four interdigital glands, and a large deep pit below the orbit; and (3) sheep of the Argali type (Asia) and of the Bighorn type (Asia and America), characterised by a face pit and interdigital glands, but especially by spiral horns.

Some naturalists seem to assume that all the domestic sheep are descended from the Mouflon, others derive them from the Urial (Ovis vignei) or the Argali (Ovis ammon), or from both of these species, but many writers on sheep assert that the domestic breeds are descended from a wild species not only extinct but totally unknown.[4] In all true wild sheep the tail is very short, in the majority of the improved Occidental as well as in some of the ancient Oriental breeds the tail is long—sometimes long enough to reach the ground. Perhaps the long tail has induced some naturalists to assume that domestic breeds cannot have sprung from any of the modern short-tailed wild species.

In the skeleton, horns, and throat fringe the Soay sheep (Plate XCVII., Fig. 3) agrees with the Mouflon, but it differs from both the Asiatic and European varieties of the Mouflon in having during winter a short but thick coat of fine wool. But as there is an undercoat of wool in the Mouflon this difference is one of degree not of kind—it is a modification necessitated by the cold northern environment. The Soay sheep may hence be regarded as a variety of Ovis orientalis adapted originally for a moorland life. As it seems to have lived in Neolithic and later times with the Celtic ox and the Celtic pony, it may be familiarly known as the Celtic sheep. A more appropriate name than

1 To the late John T. Mackenzie, long factor to Macleod of Macleod, I was indebted for much information about the Soay sheep. Soay is a Norse word meaning Sheep Island.

2 Excavations in Cranbourne Chase, vol. ii., pp. 226 ff.

3 The Roman Forts on the Bar Hill, p. 127.

4 See Lydekker, Wild Oxen, Sheep, and Goats, 1898.