Baron Jean-Dominique Larrey (1766-1842) was a French surgeon in Napoleon's army and an important innovator in battlefield medicine. Early in his career he served as ship’s surgeon aboard the frigate La Vigilante and stayed for a time at Croc Harbour on the east coast of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. Their ship had been sent to this remote locale with the mission of assisting in the protection of the French cod fishery. When the crew landed, they built a small cabin community there, which they used as a base. In his Mémoires de chirurgie militaire et campagnes Larrey (1812, p. 30) recalls various events witnessed there. Among other things, he writes that “One sees also in this country a kind of
Other cervid × bovid crosses:
Given the circumstances, it seems clear that the cow in question, which must have been brought along to provide milk at this remote outpost, would not have had access to, and could not have been impregnated by, a bull.
Certain authors (e.g., Morton 1847a) mistakenly say that Larrey mentions a cross between an elk (Cervus elaphus) and a cow, but Larrey uses the word caribou, which, of course, is just another name for reindeer.
Moreover, reindeer are native to Newfoundland, whereas elk are not. According to Wikipedia, moose (Alces alces) were not introduced into Newfoundland until 1878, and even today are not found at the north end of the Great Northern Peninsula (the location of Croc Harbour).
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
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