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Letter 8658

Darwin, C. R. to Hyatt, Alpheus

4 Dec [1872]

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    If decapod does not pass through zoea stage, is this acceleration? If hypothetical adult retained zoea characters, would this be retardation? Believes obliteration of growth stages frequently due to natural selection. Most interesting points in AH's letter deal with senile characters. CD attributes them to laws of growth not selection. Explains degraded characters as result of readaptation to simpler conditions. Believes no innate tendency to progressive development exists.

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    Hopes AH visits F. Hilgendorf's famous deposit [at Steinheim]. A. Weismann [Einfluss der Isolierung (1872)] makes good use of Hilgendorf's observations.

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