To T. H. Huxley 5 July 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Huxley
Will you be so kind as to read the two enclosed pages as you said you would & consider the little point therein referred to.—2 I have not thought it worth troubling you with how far & in which way the case concerns my work,—the point being how far there is any truth in M.M. Brullé & Barneoud.3 My plan of work is just to compare partial generalisations of various authors & see how far they corroborate each other. Especially I want your opinion how far you think I am right in bringing in Milne Edwards’ view of classification.4 I was long ago much struck with the principle referred to; but I could then see no rational explanation why affinities shd go with the more or less early branching off from a common embryonic form. But if MM. Brullé & Barneoud are true, it seems to me we get some light on Milne Edwards’ views of classification; & this particularly interests me.5 I wish I could anyhow test M. Brullé’s doctrine: as in Vertebrata the head consists of greatly altered vertebræ, according to this rule, in an early part of the embryonic development of a Vertebrate animal, the head ought to have arrived more nearly to its perfect state, than a dorsal or cervical vertebra to its perfect state: How is this?6
I have been reading Goodsir, but have found no light on my particular point.7 The paper impresses me with a high idea of his judgment & knowledge, though, of course, I can form no independent judgment of the truth of his doctrines. But by Jove it wd require a wonderful amount of evidence to make one believe that the head of an Elephant or Tapir had more vertebræ in it, than the head of a Horse or Ox.8
Many thanks for your last Lecture. How curious the development of Mysis!9
Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Do you know whether the embryology of a Bat has ever been worked out?
Asks THH’s opinion on embryological views of G. A. Brullé [Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 13 (1844): 484–6] and F. M. Barnéoud [Ann. des Sci. Nat. ser. 3, Bot. 6 (1846): 268–96] and on Milne-Edwards’ classification.
Has been reading John Goodsir ["On the morphological constitution of the skeleton of the vertebrate head", Edinburgh New Philos. J. 2d ser. 5 (1857): 123–78].
Has embryology of bats ever been worked out?
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Huxley, T. H.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 67)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2118,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2118