Ulens arrived at his family of pigeons by crossing three different breeds - the Persian Messenger, the flying Tumbler, and the Smyter, a red-eyed speed pigeon of mostly Tumbler origin. This cross proved so successful that between 1850 and 1890 everyone who got hold of Ulens racers used them as an outcross for their own families, which were largely Persian Messenger interbred with Culbutant. a white-eyed high flyer. Ulens disposed of his last four racers in 1872. Grooter, Wegge, Hansenne, and Vandevelde, among other less well-known names, but no less important lofts in the early development of the modern racer, had much Ulens blood.

So the modern Racing Pigeon is not so modern after all. Both the flying Tumbler and Smyter had Persian Messenger in their bloodlines, as probably did the Culbutant. Thus one of the principal ancestors of the Racing Pigeon was the ancient Persian Messenger - which had long been bred for homing ability-vision.

The homing instinct and ability to see great distances then were throughout history survival traits in the selection process for choosing breeders; and it is highly probable that the genes for Most traits now occur on the same GROUP of chromosomes, Today, when a pigeon shows development and superior structure in the eye these features can be taken as a visual tag that the bird also carries the genes for a well-developed homing intelligence. (Of course, there are exceptions to everything.)

The question is now asked: if vision (the eye) and homing intelligence (the brain) have a chromosomal association because they are both survival traits when selecting birds for flying great distances, why hasn't vision (the eye) and homing intelligence (the brain) become associated with the body of the athlete (large breast, strong back, powerful lungs, quadrangular wing, good feather, wellbalanced keel, etc.) that is, why haven't all these traits become chromosomally associated? For all those traits are survival characteristics in the selection process when choosing racers for breeding.

For several reasons, among them being the following:
The eye is a sense organ closely connected to the brain. It is also the most important of the sense organs for gathering good, and survival in general. The other sense organs are mostly adjuncts to the eye. In fact, in one respect, the eye is an extension of the brain, being a part of the brain open to the external world. The brain relys on the eye for gathering a variety of information to be Instantly processed by it.

On the other hand, the traits for the athlete's body are many and varied. They are far removed from the brain. These traits occur on all the chromosomes.

So it is the eye that is more likely to be determined by genes located on the same chromosomes containing the genes that designate the characteristics of the brain. In addition, it can be expected that the more recent evolutionary features in the Racing Pigeon eye would be the ones most closely associated with homing intelligence - the traits of which occur in the brain.

The eye and the brain, then, would be more likely to be inherited together. The eye, however, and other various aspects of the athlete's body cannot be expected to be associated. The two most recent evolutionary features In the Racing Pigeon's eye contributing to Its survival are Its large doughnut-shaped sphincter and the flanged membrane. Both came after the primitive sphincter fibers built into the iris, with the flanged membrane being the most recent. In fact, the flanged membrane is so recent, it is not yet an established characteristic.

Thus the Circle of Adaptation is the most likely visual tag for a highly developed brain - the two even now evolving under the same selective pressure. When a large flanged membrane occurs in a young bird this early development In the eye is of particular significance as a sign of early development in other areas.

This leads us to trying to answer that question raised by those who have undertaken breeding experiments to prove or disprove the importance of eye-sign.

Eye-sign is not something that can be isolated. It is comparable to large cranial capacity & the absence of beetlebrows in modern man, traits that were not present in Homo erectus one million years ago. These traits in man today are taken by anthropologists as a "sign" of growth in intelligence in Homo sapiens, but that doesn't mean all modern men, per se, by possessing large foreheads and small brows, are intelligent. ,
Actually, breeding for eye-sign alone can run down a family of racers. It might produce some very smart birds that can see over great distances but not be able to fly. A pigeon can have excellent vision and homing intelligence, but if it doesn't have the athlete's body, as assured by performance and selection for qualities besides eye-sign, that pigeon will not be able to compete as a racer.

The proof that eye-sign is needed for good performance is this: ALL champion LONG DISTANCE racers show eyesign, either it be in above average development of the primitive iris sphincter (Circle of Correlation) or the more advanced Circle of Adaptation, or both, which are often accompanied by several other desirable traits in the eye, which we have yet to go into. Long distance racers must have homing intelligence-vision along with the brawn. We have still to be shown a bird with a washed-out sprinter's eye, one with no Circle of Correlation or Circle of Adaptation, that won a race over 350 miles.

Before describing the separate parts of the eye. and giving the desirable features of these for mating birds by contrasting eye-sign and eye color, which we shall discuss more fully later, we will attempt to answer another general question.

From what has been said up to this point it ought to be obvious that we think the breeding eye is the racing eye. Why, then, do many people who advocate eye-sign advise against racing a bird that has outstanding eye-sign?

Unless the wavy black folded or bottle-cap inner circles are plentiful in a loft the likelihood of the few birds possessing those traits to also have the crack athlete's body is small. That, coupled with the perils of a race wires, shotguns, hawks - make the survival of such racers even less probable.

So when a loft is not replete with eye-sign those pigeons carrying the genes for exceptional homing ability-vision should be held back. They are too valuable to risk on the road - especially ones with good double sphincters, i.e., highly developed circles of correlation, masked or welldefined, and wavy, black folded or bottle-cap Inner circles of adaptation. Birds having both of those traits should be mated together when the eye-sign is of contrasting quality or mated to proven athletes for up-grading home ability-vision.