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Letter 1892

Darwin, C. R. to Mantell, W. B. D.

5 June [1856–9]

    Summary Add

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    Thanks WBDM for the particulars on the iceberg.

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    Will look up the barnacle specimen to which he refers at British Museum.

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    WBDM should remember when he returns to New Zealand that aboriginal rat and frog are "great desiderata in Natural History".


Down Bromley Kent

June 5th

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind remembrance of my wish to hear particulars in regard to the iceberg seen by you & I thank you for having sent them to me.—

I think that you were so kind as to answer fully all my previous questions.—

I am not now at work on Barnacles, but I shall like someday to see at Brit Museum, the specimens to which you refer.—

With many thanks, Pray believe me, My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. | When you return to N. Zealand, I hope that you will kindly remember that the aboriginal rat (& the Frog) are great desiderata in Natural History.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1892.f1
    Mantell, normally resident in New Zealand, was in England during this period.
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    f2 1892.f2
    See letters to W. B. D. Mantell, 3 April [1856] and 10 April [1856].
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    f3 1892.f3
    Rattus exulans Peale, a small brown rat, was evidently introduced into New Zealand at an early period since its bones have been found with those of the moa. When CD visited New Zealand, the species was disappearing rapidly as a result of the arrival of the Norway rat (see Journal of researches, p. 511).
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    f4 1892.f4
    In Origin, p. 393, after stating that frogs are never found on oceanic islands, CD wrote: ‘I have, however, been assured that a frog exists on the mountains of the great island of New Zealand; but I suspect that this exception (if the information be correct) may be explained through glacial agency.’
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