Sends bird specimens for examination by TCE [for Birds].
12 Upper Gower St
I am very much obliged to you for undertaking to examine the birds I mentioned to you,
and I am delighted you feel interest in the task.— I would have sent them
earlier, but I have been unavoidably prevented: they go to the Railroad this
evening.— They are as follows—
I do not think these three genera can be compared with any Europæan forms:
their dissection will, I think, be very interesting
I think these will be well worthy of close examination.— In
Swainson's nonsensical language they might be called
the gallinaceous type in the thrushes.—
There are two birds without tickets; I believe they are Opetiorhynci.—
I hope you will turn to my Journal & refer to their habits before examining them. If you can let me have your account of these specimens in a month or 5 weeks I shall be greatly obliged: as it is uncertain when I shall publish the next number of the Bird Part of the “Zoology of Beagle's Voyage”.—
Many thanks for your offer of some gallinaceous birds for dissection. we shall be most happy to examine them carefully & pick their skeletons quite clean.—
Dear Eyton | Most truly yours | Chas. Darwin
- f1 547.f1In an appendix to Birds (pp. 147–56) Eyton contributed anatomical descriptions of the specimens CD listed. The species is identified by both Gould (p. 117) and Eyton (p. 155) as Tinochorus rumicivorus Eschsch. This is the bird that CD had described in his letter to J. S. Henslow, [c. 26 October –] 24 November  from Montevideo (Correspondence vol. 1) as ‘a happy mixture of a lark pidgeon & snipe … Mr Mac Leay himself never imagined such an inosculating creature’ (see Ornithological notes, pp. 211 n. 3, 278). CD's specimen numbers refer to ‘Birds &c &c in Spirits of Wine’ (DAR 29.3: 77). CD's ‘Journal’ references are to Journal of researches.
- f2 547.f2Eyton's description is on p. 147.
- f3 547.f3Edward Blyth argued, correctly, that the similarity between humming birds and sun birds presumed by William Swainson was merely an analogy and that these groups differ fundamentally in their internal structure (Blyth 1838, especially pp. 258, 262, 265). Blyth's articles were a major source of information for CD's notes on transmutation during the years 1837–42 (see Sheets-Pyenson 1981, which briefly reviews the literature about Blyth's influence on CD, including Eiseley 1959, Beddall 1972, and Manier 1978).
- f4 547.f4A reference to Swainson's espousal of the quinary system of classification (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter to J. S. Henslow, [c. 26 October –] 24 November , n. 8).