To the Lords of the Admiralty [2–4 July 1866]1
To the L of the Admiralty
We the undersigned having heard that one of H.MS ships under the comm of Capt. M accompanied by a naturalist will soon proceed to survey parts of the Str of Magellan,2 beg permission to call the attention of your Lordships to the fact that several years ago A. S. C.B.3 discovered at Gallegos River in the extreme S. part of Patagonia a great deposit of the bones of extinct species of quadrupeds. Many of these collected with the aid of Hydrographer Capt Richards R.N. & afterwards in the B. Museum.4 These [illeg] remains apparently belong to a more ancient period, than the collection by Mr Darwin on H.MS. Beagle5 & by other Naturalists, & currently of extreme interest to science—
Some of the fossils have been described by R. O. F.RS in the Transactions of the Philoso Soc for 1853, & their characters have been shown to be highly remarkable6
We the undersigned have been informed by Admiral S., that in the course of a few days several boat-loads of these bones could be collected, & thus if a week or two were given to the work, perfect specimens could probably be disinterred.7
We therefore earnestly request your L. to take into your favourable consideration the benefit which wd conferred on Natural Science, if orders were given for a Collection to be made of these fossils under the present favourable circumstances, by the aid of the Naturalist who accompanies Capt Mayne.
Petition earnestly requesting that a ship surveying the Strait of Magellan collect fossil bones in the south of Patagonia.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5142,” accessed on 20 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5142