To Ernst Haeckel 30 March 1
Down Bromley Kent [4 Chester Place]
My dear Friend
I am much obliged for your interesting letter with its genealogical tree.2
I now understand to a certain extent the importance of the swim-bladder in the Selachians.3 I shall be curious to see whether the organ ought not to be considered rather in a “nascent” than in a “rudimentary” state. I had always imagined that some animal like the Lepidosiren was the parent-form of the Vertebrata.—4
By all means keep the German edition of my Book: it will be of far more use in your hands than in anyone’s else.—5
We have been staying nearly a month in London & I am as wearied of the din & turmoil of the place, as you could be; but we return in two days to the quietude of Down.6 My visit here has not been one of rest, for I have been hard at work in collecting new facts on Sexual selection, by corresponding with a multitude of breeders & visiting them & the zoological Gardens.
This subject will be the chief one in my next little book, for I entirely agree with you that sexual selection has played a most important part with man.7 But I find many very serious objections & difficulties & shall not make out a very good case.—
I am astonished at the hybrids of Hare & rabbit: is it certain that Dr Conrad began his work with a true wild Lepus timidus & not with a hare-like var. of the L. cuniculus?8
I am tired with writing letters, so will write no more, & will conclude with my unalterable esteem & friendship.—
Yours very truly | Ch. Darwin
Now understands importance of swim-bladder in selachians. Always imagined animal like Lepidosiren was parent form of vertebrates.
Has been nearly a month in London, collecting facts on sexual selection from breeders and at Zoological Gardens.
Astonished at hybrid of rabbit and hare. Is it certain that work was done with hare?
- information, data, scientific description
- queries / requests
- sexual selection
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6070,” accessed on 27 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6070