Thanks for answer to query. "I see … that there is no hope of comparing the same genus at two different periods, and seeing whether the tendency to vary is greater at one period in such genus than at another period."
Inclined to dispute SPW's doctrine that islands are generally ancient. Doubts that they are remnants of continents.
Down. Bromley. Kent.
I am very much obliged to you for having taken the trouble to answer my query so
fully— I can now be at rest, for from what you say
& from what little I remember Forbes said, my point is unanswerable. The case of
Terebratula is to the point as far as it goes and is
negative. I have already attempted to get a solution through geographical distribution
I shall have no points as far as I can remember to suggest for your reconsideration, but only some on which I shall have to beg for a little further information— However I feel inclined very much to dispute your doctrine of Islands being generally ancient in comparison I presume with continents— I imagine you think that islands are generally remnants of old continents a doctrine which I feel strongly disposed to doubt— I believe them generally rising points, you, it seems think them sinking points—
With many thanks. | Yours very sincerely. | C. Darwin.
- f1 1879.f1The date on the copy is corroborated by the reference to previous correspondence with Woodward (see n. 2, below).
- f2 1879.f2This letter is a response to the letter from S. P. Woodward, 2 May 1856, even though CD had written an additional letter in the interim (see letter to S. P. Woodward, 15 May ).
- f3 1879.f3In the copy, ‘Terebratula’ has been substituted for the copyist's ‘Tenebratula’.
- f4 1879.f4In the copy, ‘or’ has been substituted for the copyist's ‘in’.
- f5 1879.f5See letter to S. P. Woodward, [after 4 June 1856].
- f6 1879.f6Woodward expressed his belief that island faunas were generally older than those of continents in the letter from S. P. Woodward, 2 May 1856. He gave a fuller discussion in Woodward 1851–6, 3: 406 n. See also Woodward 1851–6 , 3: 381, where Woodward referred to insular flora and fauna as ‘the survivors, seemingly, of tribes which the sea has swallowed up.’ CD considered most oceanic islands to be volcanic in origin and unconnected with any continents.