To William Turner 14 December 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
Your kindness when I met you at the Royal Socy. makes me think that you would grant me the favour of a little information, if in your power.1 I am preparing a book on “Domestic Animals,” & as there has been so much discussion on the bearing of such views as I hold, on Man, I have some thoughts of adding a chapter on this subject.—2
The point on which I want information is in regard to any part which may be fairly called rudimentary in comparison with the same part in the Quadrumana or any other mammal.—3 Now the os coccyx is rudimentary as a tail, & I am anxious to hear about its muscles. Mr Flower4 found for me in some work that its one muscle (with striæ) was supposed only to bring this bone back to its proper position after parturition. This seems to me hardly credible. He said he had never particularly examined this part, & when I mentioned your name, he said you were the most likely man to give me information. Are there any traces of other muscles? it seems strange if there are none. Do you know how the muscles are in this part in the Anthropoid Apes? The muscles of the ear in man may, I suppose, in most cases be considered as rudimentary; & so they seem to be in the Anthropoids; at least I am assured in Zoolog. Gardens,5 they do not erect their ears. I gather that there are a good many muscles in various parts of body which are in this same state; could you specify any of the best cases.— The mammæ in man are rudimentary. Are there any other glands or other organs, which you can think of.— I know I have no right whatever to ask all these questions & can only say that I shd be grateful for any information.
If you tell me anything about the os coccyx or other structures, I hope that you will permit me to quote the statement on your authority, as that would add so greatly to its value.—6 Pray excuse me for troubling you & do not hurry yourself in the least in answering me.
Pray believe me | My dear sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin
I do not know whether you would care to possess a copy, but I told my Publisher to send you a copy of the new Edit. of the “Origin” last month.—7
Thinks of adding chapter on man to Variation. Asks about muscles connected to os coccyx in man and existence of other rudimentary organs in man.
Sends copy of Origin.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5306,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5306