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Letter 13834

Darwin, C. R. to Owen, Richard

23 Dec [1847–54]

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    Is searching for a tooth of Carcharias which he might have left with RO.


Down | Farnborough | Kent

Decr. 23d.

Dear Owen

A year or two ago, some one (I think Mr. Searles Wood) applied to me for teeth of Carcharias; & I then looked carefully & could not find a noble specimen, which I found in the older Tertiary beds at Coquimbo in Chile; & which I am almost certain I showed once to you (hence your vague memory of the fact) & which I rather think I left with you. If not at the College it is gone the way of all flesh—(a very inappropriate remark for a silicified fossil)— You would know my specimen by having a small number attached to it, if not removed.

I return with interest your Christmas good wishes.—

My old skipper FitzRoy exaggerated, I am sorry for my credit-sake to say, about that glacier wave & the boats,—which so nearly shipwrecked us & would have left us without, food or or arms above a hundred miles from our ship in the midst of most detestable savages.

Very sincerely yours | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 13834.f1
    The date range is suggested by the date of publication of South America, in which the fossil remains of the Coquimbo beds are discussed, and by the address: CD did not generally use `Down Farnborough Kent' after October 1855.
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    f2 13834.f2
    Searles Valentine Wood was a specialist on Tertiary molluscs.
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    f3 13834.f3
    This letter may be related to one to an unidentified correspondent, 31 December [1852--3] (Correspondence vol. 5), in which CD described the Tertiary shells he had found in the Coquimbo bed at Herradura Bay, Chile.
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    f4 13834.f4
    CD had sent his fossil bones and a number of other specimens collected on the Beagle voyage to the Royal College of Surgeons. See Correspondence vol. 1, letter to Caroline Darwin, 9--12 August 1834; and vol. 4, letter to J. T. Quekett, 7 September [1848].
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    f5 13834.f5
    The incident took place in Tierra del Fuego and was described by Robert FitzRoy, captain of the Beagle, in Narrative 2: 216--17.
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