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"The Yale"
Wilma B. George
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 31, 1968, 423-28
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"The first written record of the animal called yale or eale is in Pliny's Natural History. After that it was taken up by Solinus, occurred in the majority of Latin bestiaries and died out as a regular bestiary animal in the seventeenth century. But, by that time, it had become firmly established in English heraldry. Although it has been commented on in edited texts of Pliny and several articles have been written on it, it has never been satisfactorily identified with any living, or recently extinct, animal. It is typically dismissed as one of Pliny's now shrinking number of mythical animals... Subsequent authors have tried to identify the yale with a gnu, a mountain goat or a deformed cow but the majority have concurred with Notes on the History of the Heraldic Jall or Yale (1911) Druce, who must be regarded as the authority on yales, that it is unidentifiable. In the course of a survey of animals depicted on ancient maps it became clear that a number of hitherto unidentified animals would be worthy of further investigation. ... Considering this evidence from the point of view of a zoologist several interesting suggestions emerged, one of which has been the possible identification of the yale. ... All the evidence points to the water buffaloes as the origin of the yale. African cape buffalo or Indian water buffalo is difficult to decide but, on balance, the evidence seems to be in favour of the Indian water buffalo." - George

Two pages of black & white photographs of yale images in manuscripts as well as the living animals discussed in the article as possible origin animals.

Language: English

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